So I'm browsing through the news this morning and I'm told the Dolphins are "brilliant" because they're thinking outside the box. Well, I'm all in favor of thinking outside the box. But my experience is that it's rarely brilliant because it often means someone is throwing away a tried and true method in order to make a change that may or may not be an improvement.
Such was the case here.
The Dolphins have unveiled a plan for their rookie mini-camp starting Thursday by which the players will never actually hit the field. Players will spend all of their time in classrooms learning the schemes and "to be Miami Dolphins." I'm told that this will help because it will combat burnout in the rookies.
I've got to tell you something. Rookies burnout in December because they aren't used to the rigors of playing a 16 game season. I doubt very much that it has a lot to do with getting on the field during a three day mini-camp in May. This is hardly "brilliant" reasoning to me.
Many will say with some validity that there's little reason for players to get out onto the field in shorts because, really, they can't do much anyway. In other words, no big loss. This will allow players to spend more time on what is the actual point of the exercise, learning the offense/defense. And there's something to that. But I think that in this particular case, you might be losing something important.
Training a player is like teaching anyone else to do anything in any walk of life. It's not just about learning the new material. It's about learning to apply it. And this is where this plan falls on it's face. Part of this mini-camp needs to be not only feeding information to these player but making them translate it onto the field in terms of actions, even if those actions consist of running to the right place at the right time in your underwear.
This is the reason why rookie mini-camps have been run like they have been for decades. And it's not something to be simply thrown away for the sake of doing something different.
This is an extremely small thing. But sometimes small things are an indication of bigger things to come. I think innovation is wonderful when its rightly applied to a situation that has grown outdated.
But ideas are also a dangerous thing and they need to be carefully thought out before they leave the mind to be born and executed in the light of day. I hope this one isn't going to be typical of the things to come from the new coaching staff.
This column was written by Tom Shannon. Follow him on Twitter: @bearingthenews
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