Friday, July 1, 2011

NFL Lockout Should End By Mid-Late July

Well it was looking more and more like the NFL lockout could come to an end in mid-July, allowing teams to start training camp right on time, possibly just a week late. However, talks stalled some more Friday, and won't pick up again until next week.

Apparently, there are still things to hash out between the two sides, specifically of which I'm not too clear on. I know league minimum salary and player insurance (Player Pension) after retirement, were big issues for the players heading in. Now the latest news as far as an end date that I heard at the end of last week was July 15th, which is 2 weeks from today, but again, we'll just have to wait and see. If this thing drags into August though, your starting to talk about missing ballgames. I haven't been big on discussing the specifics of the lockout on this site, and I'm not going to start today, but I'm really hoping we get to be seeing the Raiders and Niners in action sooner than later. Speaking of the Silver and Black, they were amongst the group of teams rumored to be headed back to Los Angeles, though it appears that was just purely speculation. I know you local Raider fans may hate to hear it, but I actually think it would be a great move for to for the franchise as a hole to get to SoCal (Raider fans can't even watch home games unless they attend). They'll regain a much bigger fan-base in a place where they'll sell-out with ease, even if they're 2-14. They'd probably still keep most their local NorCal diehards and easily be a team that generates interest with stars like D-Mac and Michael Huff, Zach Miller to market around (All well known in LA playing vs. USC in big games). As it stands, I don't know for sure, but I don't really see Oakland building a stadium for both the A's and Raiders, even if the A's park is built south of Oakland. So, if the Raiders stay across the Bay in the Almeda County, they'll likely call the Coliseum home for another 15-20 years or so until the A's situation is long since figured out and done and the City's ready to re-indulge for a sports team.

As far as actual playing action, different team leaders across the country have been putting together mini un-official workouts here and there. Here in the Bay Area, Alex Smith has been leading the charge as far as coordinating workouts and what not, though I'm sure he's getting a ton of instruction from Jim Harbough (though Smith is currently a FA and isn't supposed to work out with or plan with Harbough officially, yet). This is something I really like to see, Smith striving to get better. The dude's 26-27 years-old and just now entering his QB prime. There's no telling whether he won't just take off underneath the tutelage of Harbough, just look what Coach H did with that other big named Bay Area QB (Stanford's Andrew Luck), and don't think Luck doesn't attribute a huge amount of his success to his former coach. And don't think he's bitter about the arrival of 2nd Round QB Colin Kaepernick, cause "Kapy" has been to every one of the "Camp Alex" (as the players call it) sessions and Smith has taken him under his wing. Even if the Niners didn't necessarily want Alex starting behind center in 2011, the offseason is going to be a slim one, and there simply won't be many options for the 49ers to upgrade that position, and that's why Harbough has been so public with his backing of Smith. Add that to the fact that Alex looks like a different guy taking charge in these camps and wants to be that leader that he hasn't been. Kevin Kolb would be nice, but there are teams lining up for the Philly QB, I just don't think the 49ers want to part with a high draft pick or one or two bright young players for Kolb if they believe Kaepernick could be a better player (which intrigues me, hearing it come Harbough).

On the Raider side, I know Defensive Lineman Richard Seymour has put together some workouts, though I'm not too clear on who attended them and what went on. Again though, it's good to see the Raiders staying active, and together in the long wait in which they'd have already taken place in numerous mini-camps.

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