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an NFL player's daily breakdown (1 Viewer)

Maik Jeaunz

link here: Dorsey Levens' Sports Blog - 11/26/08

7 Days in a Players Shoes

by Dorsey Levens

One of the most popular questions I would get while playing in the NFL would always be, "What's your day-to day schedule like?" Each time I would respond I would get that look that dogs have when they hear something strange and tilt their head to the side. It would be followed by an enthusiastic, "What?"

Most people just don't understand why you spend so much time in meetings and what could you possibly be talking about for that long! Trying to explain usually took more time than I cared to spend talking about it. Considering that after a long day at the "office" the last thing you want to do when you're not working is talk about "work."

Now that I have a little more free time, let me try and explain in a language that even my lady friends can relate to. I can hear the women asking "What's a cover two shell and zone blitz?" Wouldn't football commentators do men everywhere a favor if they spoke in a language that wouldn't alienate the women? Now they can stay interested and not bother us men with everything else that is unimportant on Sunday's! I digress. Let's take a look at a "regular" week in the NFL.


Coming off a Sunday game, you're first meeting will be a team meeting at noon on Monday. Most guys will come in early and get a workout in being that it is mandatory that you get one in before the day is over. Working out at the end of the day is also an option. This meeting is usually very brief. You either won or lost. Or tied (Sorry Donavan). You played well or didn't. If you're in Detroit right now it may seem like a redundancy meeting about being redundant. Then you split up into offense and defense and discuss what you guys did as a unit. If you're in the Green Bay defensive meeting this week after giving up 51 points to the New Orleans Saints, you're probably looking like the dog I mentioned in the first paragraph. If you're in the Saints offensive meeting, you're talking about where the party is tonight! After that meeting you split up by position, watch the game film and go over what went right and what went wrong. You could always tell which position didn't play well depending on how long they were in meetings. Depending on how your head coach felt about your teams performance will determine whether or not you actually go on the field and make some corrections from the game. The day is over about 4 p.m.


Off day for the players.


Special teams meet at 8:15 am. This meeting is not for everyone just the guys on that particular phase of the kicking game. So if the two phases are punts and kick-off return, the guys on the kick-off unit and punt return units will meet the next morning at 8:15. If you're a starter and not used on special teams, your day would begin at the team meeting at 9 a.m. This team meeting outlines the week and your opponent. Once again you split up into offense and defense and install your game plan. These are the meetings that are almost impossible to stay awake in after week 8. If they turn the lights out, forget about it! For the offense, you go over the basic plays you've been running since training camp with a few wrinkles here and there. It's important to stay awake for the new wrinkles, but after that sleep tight. I understand Ocho Cinco but you have to try and be a little more discreet about it. You remember how you did it in high school. Hide your eyes! And absolutely no snoring! After your beauty nap there is a walk through that lasts about 30 minutes. We actually never walked but the name never changed. Then it's lunch, practice, position meeting to watch the practice you just had and then watch film of your opponent. Between 4:30 and 5 pm, after you've showered, gotten some treatment for your bumps and bruises and maybe jump in the steam room for a few minutes, your day is finally over.


Much like Wednesday but the practice sessions are much longer. Wondering why guys spend so much time in meetings? Speaking from the offensive side of the ball, there are no stones left unturned! Ladies try to follow me. We would meet (every week) about 1st and 10, 1st and 15 or 20, 2nd and long, 2nd and short, 2nd and 4-6, and 3rd and everything. Red zone (inside your opponents 20-yard line), goal-line, backed up near your own goal line, 2-minute drill, 4-minute drill (trying to run the clock out and preserve a victory), plays we like against this team, plays we may not like but could work if they line up this way. It's a week-long chess match that continues well into Sunday afternoon.


The morning meetings are pretty much the same but no walk through. This is the last day of real practice before the game with a heavy emphasis on red zone and a tune up on short yardage and goal line and some 3rd-down situations. No meetings after practice. The food in the cafeteria is better than it is during the week. It's really a lot like pizza day when you were in elementary school. Oh the simple pleasures in life! I should add that there are two workouts that have to be completed by Friday or you will be fined. Being late to any meeting or practice is an automatic $5,000.00 fine.


Morning meetings and then a 45-minute walk through. For away games we would fly on a chartered plane (almost always Northwest Airlines) so we would be in the opposing teams city around 4 pm. More meetings from 7 pm until 9 p.m. Wed get a team snack after meetings and bed check at 11 pm. For home games we had to check into our hotels the night before the game by 7 and the schedule would be the same as for away games. Absolutely no visitors on the team floor in the hotel and there are police officers by the elevators and by the stairwells to make sure that no one slips in or out. No mom, dad, grandmother, wives, girlfriends, cousins or homeboys allowed.


Game day is finally here! Pre-game meal is always four hours before kickoff and all players must be at the stadium at least two hours prior to kickoff. Then we start all over again Monday at noon.
I've never seen a player break it down like this, and I thought it was pretty interesting. funny how it makes it seem like standard practice to take a nap during team meetings...
Good overview. If you want a full picture of life in the NFL I recommend John Feinstein's book "Next Man Up." Great read and very insightful.


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