With the NFL season fast approaching, now is the time for players to hit the weight room and knock off some of the rust from vacation.
At the Under Armour Performance Center, Ravens players returned to the clacking of weights and the smell of sweat. Monday morning marked the start of the team's voluntary conditioning program. Broken into three phases, the offseason program is all about strength, conditioning, rehab and classroom work. Sadly, the Collective Bargaining Agreement limits the workouts to these areas as coaches are unable to lead any players through on-field workouts. The first phase started today and will last two weeks. Phase two will begin on May 4th and will last for three weeks. During phase two, 11-on-11 drills are allowed and coaches will be able to see how players are running and competing. Phase three begins May 25th and includes the Organized Team Activities (OTAs) that we hear so much about.
Players during this phase come in looking to get back into game shape or rehab some nagging injuries that might have caused offseason surgery. While completely voluntary, the Ravens have always had a strong presence at these events from veterans and important positions. Harbaugh had this to say:
If you don’t like being around when the players come back, you’re in the wrong business. This is what we do. This is football, man. When the football players come back in the building, everybody should be excited about that.
Naerly every year, we hear about players that fail the conditioning test for various reasons. This year, it seem that Harbaugh is putting out the call to his players to be ready well before the season or spend the extra time to get ready.
We fully expect our guys to be in shape when they walk in the door. And if they’re not in shape, they’re going to have to work extra hard to get caught up. Most of our guys, if not all of our guys, are already going to be in phenomenal shape.
Hopefully for the Ravens, guys didn't eat too much cake and have keep on the roadwork, because big things are expected this season from everyone.