Coughlin Wonders How Season Will Start

Tom Coughlin is a lonely guy these days. No players, no offseason workouts, and a lot of questions about what the beginning of the season will look like if there's no CBA in the coming months.

Tom Coughlin said at the owners' meeting Tuesday that some accommodation is going to have to be made for training camp if the battle over a new CBA stretches into the summer.

Though coaches are prohibited from contacting players during the current lockout, he made his points clear to them beforehand that they should come in ready to work when the labor situation resolves itself. But that won't be easy, considering the lack of an offseason conditioning program and the need to introduce rookies into the program.

"I'll have a plan for that," Coughlin said. "But I've also asked about everybody that I can, or planted the seed, if it goes that long, we're going to have to be some kind of a transitional deal. You are going to have to do something. You haven't had any time at all with your players."

"You haven't seen the rookies yet. Rookies don't even know what you do with your program. They've had no orientation, the league has spent no time with them. I'm not saying move the season back. I'm not saying that. I'm saying somehow, some way we've got to be able to work our way through all of these things: free agency, college free agents, rookie mini-camp maybe, a mini-camp of some kind."

The offseason program was scheduled to start March 15. But since that went out the window with the lockout, Coughlin said he's busied himself planning -- and re-planning -- the offseason.

He just hopes the labor issues will be resolved in time for some sense of normalcy to occur. But with the owners and players headed for the courtroom April 6, there appears little hope of that.

"I understand, I understand," he said. "I don't even want to think about it. We will all have a plan. I don't think there is anybody in this room that has done anything but verbally talk about it.

"I've put together an offseason calendar. I update it every week and as time goes by, we've got, in effect, our 10-12 OTAs just about done. We don't have the two minicamps done, which we normally have done, but we will have that done, too. Whenever things happen, you apply what you got prepared to that particular aspect of it."

When he's not scratching out dates and practice segments on his tentative calendar, Coughlin walks past an eerily quiet weight room and empty locker room. At this point, most of his veterans would be in lifting and rehabbing.

But now, the rooms are empty, the players barred from setting foot on the premises.

"You walk through and it's empty," Coughlin said. "Everything is all neatly folded up and put in position. You know how they are; they are like little kids, their stuff is all around (when players are there)."

He misses the contact and the supervision.

"I've always done that," he said. "That is my thing. I know when each group starts. I will come down and do the locker room routine, the weight room routine and try to see everybody the best I can. Encourage them, make them understand that I know what they are up against.

"A lot of them are rehabbing and that type of thing. I like to go in there. The clang of the weights and the sounds of the weight room when guys are grunting and groaning and working. I like that. That is a big part of the offseason for me. Quite frankly, until we started this business, I would go down in the morning to see the guys that were in the training room."

He'll have to wait until a new CBA for that to happen again. Until then, he'll just keep updating the workout schedule.

Whether it's a futile effort or not.


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