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How important is the offseason program?

Posted by Albert Breer  March 24, 2010 03:11 PM

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Redskins coach Mike Shanahan railed on Albert Haynesworth a little bit earlier today day, if you hadn't heard, and his comment shine a light on how coaches approach the offseason program.

"I totally disagree with his decision to not be there," Shanahan said at this morning's NFC coaches breakfast. "But I respect him being there the first day and sitting down and talking to me man to man. Any time a person's willing to do that, you feel good about the communication."

In most cases, with NFL coaches, the "totally disagree" in that sentence translates roughly to "am real pissed off". Offseason program, outside of one minicamp (and two for teams with new coaches), is voluntary. But it's fair to that's more "voluntary" than VOLUNTARY.

What to make of all this? How important is it when a player misses some time? How big is it for the Jets and Dolphins that they both had -- for all intents and purposes -- perfect attendance?

There are plenty of examples of a team's work in March and April meaning something in December and January. Then again, Brett Favre showed up in Minnesota in August, and the Vikings went to the NFC title game. So, as is the case with almost anything in football, it all depends on the situation you're in and circumstances you're operating under.

"I think over the whole body of the offseason our players will be there," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said yesterday. "There are some that are there early and aren't there as much later. There are some that aren't there early and vice versa. There are some that come and go. I think when you have a large group of people like that there are different schedules I think."

The team's official Web site gave fans a video view of the program last week, if you want to take a look.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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