I think that most of the reporters that attend these practices are there more for the quotes from the players and coaches after the practice session, and care somewhat less about the action on the field. I’m the opposite. And so today was one of those days where it was kind of a bummer for me, as the media was kept at a safe distance away from the 11 on 11’s today. Therefore, no notes on the actual practice today. 🙁
However, before practice, I answered a bunch of questions on Twitter, and the most common theme was the linebackers, specifically whether or not DeMeco Ryans was taking an “active leadership role.” By my observations, to date, he just looked like “one of the guys.” Then again, I’m not sure what an “active leadership role” in OTAs would even look like in the first place, since we’re not going to see any Brian Dawkins or London Fletcher style speeches before going out to practice FG protections.
In Houston, Ryans was kind of a big deal. When news of the trade broke, the Houston Chronical’s Jerome Solomon published text messages he received from various players, and rounded up some public comments made by players on Twitter:
“WTF!! You know what they are up to?”
“Damn, man, and they talk about loyalty.”
“Cold-blooded, man, cold-blooded. But Meco will be better off for it. He’s going to dominate in Philly.”
“They don’t what leadership means, do they? Bet they won’t finish No. 2 in defense next season.”
“It’s an ugly business. We’re not the same team without him. Gonna take a lot to replace Meco.”
Players went onto Twitter with public comments as well.
Owen Daniels: “Seriously? Meco too?”
Brian Cushing: “I wouldn’t be half the player or person I am today without @DRyans59 this one hurts. Philly got a unbelievable player and leader today. #59″
Glover Quin: “Honored to have had the chance to play with and learn from @DRyans59.. True leader and great person… Preciate you bro.”
In Philly, Ryans believes that his reputation as a leader doesn’t mean squadoosh until his teammates can see whether or not he can actually play:
Right now, I’m coming into a new situation, so I have to go out and earn (their respect). These guys, I don’t know whether they’ve seen me play or what, but these guys have to go out and see me play on the field to give that respect to me.
Back in the day, I used to work in sales in New York City, and my company had just hired some manager from Florida who had a reputation as a great motivator and some bigtime sales numbers to back it up. I remember during our weekly meetings, as soon as he arrived in NYC this guy would jump in and talk about what made him and his team so successful in Florida. His points were completely valid and thoughtful, but the overwhelming feeling among the other sales reps was something along the lines of “Who the fuck is this clown, and why should I give a shit about what he did in Florida?”
As it turned out, his numbers in NYC would be good, but nothing special. Not a single person in that office looked at him as a role model or leader.
Quick… Off the top of your head… Name 2 perceived “leaders” in the NFL that really aren’t good players, or haven’t been good players in a long time. Keith Brooking, maybe? That’s all I got. Players look up to other good players. By human nature, people have less respect for those they feel superior to.
Ryans’ approach is the right one. Prove yourself first, and then ease into that “leadership” role if it presents itself.
One other quick note:
- Andy Reid said that training camp will be much harder this year. This will be my 3rd camp. At the 2010 camp, there was a a lot of hitting, and tackling to the ground. There was almost no hitting last year, and can’t recall any tackling to the ground, at least in the sessions I attended. It was night and day, and part of that was due to the lockout. At the very least, camp should be more entertaining for the fans that come out.