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Lame motivational methods highlight the start of NFC East training camps

NFL: New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Training camps around the league have started and already there is plenty of action on the field, off the field and some memes. Football is back baby. Let’s take a look at how some early story lines are progressing as coaches shape their team in their image. Since it’s a new season and everyone is in first, let’s just go in whatever order I feel like.

New York Giants

Let’s get this boring team out of the way early.

New Coach, Same Attitude: A coach’s first training camp is the place where he can really shape a team in his own image. The Giants are counting on the profound wisdom of Ben McAdoo to lead them.

McAdoo has been tasked with both turning the fortunes of the team around after stalling under Tom Coughlin the last three years (two of which McAdoo was there for) and continuing the work of the Tom Coughlin; which is like that scene in Portlandia where Tim Robbins tells Carrie Brownstein to “explain yourself silently using words.” We’ll see if McAdoo can turn the team around but it looks like he has the continuity part down:

“All right, we got our work in today. We finished a minute early,” McAdoo said, via the team’s website. “That is not good enough.”

Oh. My. God. An entire minute early. Tom Coughlin would be embarrassed, though appreciative of having the time to microwave some oatmeal.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are almost as boring as the Giants. Almost.

New Coach, New Attitude (That Is Actually Old): Doug Pederson is putting his stamp on the Philadelphia Eagles. Pay no attention that it is actually Andy Reid’s stamp. It seems these days that coaches are transitioning from “authoritative father figure” to “sympathetic Rad Dad.” Jim Harbaugh and his khakis, Jason Garrett has his sunglasses and pointless clapping, Jack Del Rio probably preaches “never skip leg day”, and Ron Rivera’s default expression is “don’t talk to me or my son ever again.” Andy Reid was an early pioneer of this with his Hawaiian shirts, so Pederson has his work cut out for him. He may be making his mark by going outside the box:

Rookie Eagles coach Doug Pederson was driving home from the Philadelphia airport one night this off-season and got pulled over by a cop. Seems Pederson had been driving without his lights on, and the cop took his license and registration and went back to his car to write him up. The cop came back a couple of minutes later. He handed Pederson the license and registration back, with nothing else.

“Season-ticket holder 26 years,” the flat-line cop said. “Expecting big things.”

Ooh, Dangerous Rad Dad. That’s a bold choice. I bet he lets his kids eat ice cream and straight out of the box for dinner when his wife is out.

“It’s not Kansas City anymore, Dorothy,” he said.

Lame Joke Rad Dad too. The NFC East may be one of the weakest divisions on the field, but there is some stiff competition for Raddest Dad.

Washington Redskins

Speaking of Rad Dads, we have our first Gruden Face of the year!

Old Coach, New* Parking Spot: How do you motivate players to give an extra effort in the offseason? Well you could pay them more considering they don’t have fully guaranteed contracts. That’s one idea. Probably a pretty good one too. Jay Gruden’s idea is to save them a few steps each day by giving them a better parking spot.

It may not seem like much, but the small yet noticeable daily reward of a parking spot may be the perfect acknowledgement of the small yet noticeable daily efforts to improve.

Players who show extra effort in training camp will be enrolled in the Jelly Of The Month Club.

*Niles Paul and Ryan Kerrigan were given the same parking spot as last year.

Dallas Cowboys

Things are not looking good in Dallas, where multiple players are suspended, others are under investigation, and some are missing. It’s okay though. Everything will be fine.

Old Coach, Old Tricks: Motivating people is not an easy job. Everyone is lead in their own way, and you have to find the right button to push to get the best results. Motivating professional athletes is even harder. Using lame slogans on t-shirts probably isn’t effective though.

The 17” comes from this story (which someone from Garrett’s staff likely got off of Facebook):

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'”


“Coaches …”


” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him, do we widen home plate?

This is nonsense. Not just the story itself, which takes a strange turn after the excerpt and despite sounding like a made up story is actually true. It’s nonsense because coaches change the rules for players all the time. It’s also nonsense for Garrett because the Cowboys don’t appear to have any rules regarding the conduct of their players. They just spent a season making excuses for Greg Hardy. Rolando McClain is still on the roster. Dez Bryant has handlers. Josh Brent was brought back multiple times. Joseph Randle was arrested for theft and for drug possession in separate incidents in the span of four months, then only released when he was about to be suspended by the NFL for those arrests. Jerry Jones is the owner and GM. Accountability simply isn’t in the Cowboys’ lexicon.

Or maybe the 17” refers to the increase in Tony Thicc Romo’s waistline.

damn Romo thicc af

artist’s rendition of Fat Tony