This morning in an interview with the Atlanta Falcons official radio station, 790 The Zone, the guys from Mayhem in the A.M. interviewed Matt Ryan. Most of the conversation was very run of the mill, talking about the players the Falcons retained, whether or not Ryan has had any in-depth conversations with new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, among other things. You can hear the interview in its entirety here.
The truly enlightening thing is that the Falcons will not open up the off-season workouts and team activities until April 23, according to Ryan. This is a full week later than provided in the new CBA, and most teams will be taking advantage and starting their offseason programs on the 16th.
It raised some questions in my mind. Why would a team wait another week to start their offseason program? Wouldn’t this cause a team to fall behind in practicing and getting used to one another, especially when Tampa has already been working out for two solid weeks? This was troubling stuff.
Then I decided to do some research, and Falcons fans can rest assured that their team is doing everything they can under the new CBA. According to the language in the new CBA, teams are allowed to have nine weeks of offseason workouts and OTAs in a window of ten weeks. It is the same nine weeks over a twelve week window for teams like Tampa who have a new Head Coach. So that means that the Falcons will take the week of April 16th off, and get after practice for nine solid weeks starting on April 23.
This taught me two things. One, before we jump to conclusions, we must understand the new rules. I was woefully unaware of the language of the new contract, and suffered consternation about the Falcons apparent lack of intensity and tempo. But after reading the full contract, my fears were allayed. Secondly, it is never wise to doubt Dimitroff or Mike Smith. Nearly everything that they do has a rhyme and reason, but they don’t telegraph their intentions to fans. A lot of times that leads fans (like me) to panic. But if you search deeper, there is a method to the madness. Some decisions leave us questioning or scratching our heads, but this one makes a lot of sense and allows us to discover the Falcons true intentions.