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NFL Training Camp: Smoke and Mirrors or Do You Believe What We See?

To Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist

“You shouldn’t [read anything into it],” Pittsburgh Steelers Head coach Mike Tomlin said this week: “But I’m sure you will.”

Tomlin had a message for reporters and fans related to the quarterback situation and the link between first-round draft picks Kenny Pickett while taking second stringers and reps Mitch Trubisky threw in the expected starter.

But his remarks of caution may have been a reference to the first part of training camp in general, and his words could apply nationwide.

When the team returns to work in earnest after its long and excruciatingly boring offseason, this is the time for football fans to let their excitement down. , reacting again to other people’s overreactions.

Sportswriters, too, of course we should know better, get caught up in the vortex of immediate reactions.

That’s when everything seems to hold relevance when there’s not even a preseason game of sorts and no real football, and video clips are king.

Miamifor some reason seems to be central to the Hot Take football video universe right now. Tua Tagovailoa It went viral thanks to a strong left-handed heave that hit a new wide receiver tyreek hill 65 yards touchdown.

Given that everything has to mean something in this social media world, with Tagovailoa on the cusp of breakout season, his arm suddenly turning into a cannon, and his connection to Hill singing That was instant evidence for many. strange melody.

Of course, it wasn’t too long ago that another clip was greeted with public derision, showing a wobbly play from May’s training showing Hill needing to slow down to catch the ball. was

Tagovailoa, very thoughtful, paid little heed to previous criticisms. He may serve well enough to receive newfound admiration for a similar level of prudence.

“I don’t know people like that,” Tagovailoa said of the online crowd. “If that’s what they say, good for them. They draw people in for clickbait… whatever it is.”

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These training camp videos exist without context, which is why they are utterly ridiculous. Honestly, this is the time when head coaches are making as much money as they did in the fourth quarter of Week 18.

A training camp drill is a complex tool. What you’ve been seeing in the late summer sun these past few weeks are all equals and not guys just going out and playing. is paid too much to be so simple.

Every time I watch a clip, I have no idea what else is going on. At every level of sport, there are many coaches who require players to perform certain activities incorrectly only once.

“He’s useless” would be Twitter’s interpretation of video evidence of such a play.

When you access YouTube,squon barkleyfrom “INSANE One Hand Catch” new york giants camp. What a star! The New York Daily News also sees “concerns” that Barkley has been stripped twice by defenders. What a dud!

Sure, a Chief coughing up the ball and coming back isn’t what Giants fans want to see, but anyone can guess what they’re really seeing. I guess you’re trying a slightly modified method of holding. Do you know? If so, you’d better find out now what wasn’t working as well as it did the first week.

Even those who have attended in person have no way of determining exactly what level of information is being given to which rep. Defenses are often instructed to make specific readings. A play may be run many times with many results.

Some give wide receivers the freedom to torch defenders and sprint for touchdowns that the small crowd of training camp followers are screaming for. The defenders could have been given a heads-up on what would happen next time and go for a flashy interception.

Bad quarterbacking? Or better prepared?

It’s time for nods, whispers and back-of-the-hand analysis. Athletes who finish practice sweating with their shirts off always come to the conclusion that they are in the best shape of their careers. I hate to break it on you.There’s more to the preparation process than that.

Training camp gives the fantasy football crowd some help. Because in that game where usage is everything, it is very important to know who is likely to touch the ball most often.

Camp provides some information about the fluid situation. San Francisco 49ers running back committee. You may be able to get an idea of ​​how certain players think – Josh Allen It certainly seems motivated and ready for action. Or maybe he was having a sullen morning and forgot the coffee when he exchanged heated words. buffalo bills defensive lineman Jordan Phillips?

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We don’t know, and that’s the point. One of the best things about football is how many surprises each new season brings. All of these training camps are nothing compared to the action and performance of the game. Camp doesn’t give us all the answers. Unfortunately, half of the people we’ll see over the next few weeks will be cut before meaningful combat resumes.

What we have now are guys in shorts, mostly running around with light defensive pressure and pulling balls they can catch in their sleep.Twitter is obsessed with it.

As Tomlin warned, even things that seem definitive, such as which QB will take the first rep, can often be an illusion. It’s a bad month for

You shouldn’t read anything from what you see. In fact, let’s make a pact not to do that. This year, I’m going to wait and see, at least until the preseason games, without overreacting or making any form or fitness decisions.

But wait, what is it? Mac Jones Did you smell the session and rush off the field? Juju Smith Schuster took a ridiculous catch from Patrick Mahomes And did they celebrate and hug each other? interesting!

please calm down.

Or really, don’t. Embrace the circus. Enjoy lightness. Make everything look more important than it really is. why not?

It’s August and the usual rules don’t apply. We know we shouldn’t overreact to the infiltration of pieces of action.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. worldYou can subscribe to our daily newsletter here.


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