The first day of June means training camp is getting close, very close. In the meantime, mark down these key dates for this month.
OTAs continue. Greg Schiano is accelerating the learning curve.
Last of the OTAs. There's July humidity in the air, temperatures are pushing into the 90s.
Mini-Camp. This is your precursor to training camp. It's mandatory, there will be even more work accomplished during this three-day session. It's also the last time the team will be together before the start of training camp at the end of July.
Key date for the defense. This is the start of the oft-delayed trial of Aqib Talib. Talib is a starter at one corner, and with the shift of Ronde Barber to the free safety position, it would appear that Eric Wright will start opposite Talib.
There could be a giant monkey wrench in the defensive plans if Talib is found guilty. A guilty verdict, in addition to the judge's sentence, could trigger a suspension from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. If things don't go well, would Barber be moved back to corner?
This has been a critical offseason for this football team. Ownership has shown good faith by adding some high-priced, high-caliber free agents. Schiano hasn't wasted a moment in his efforts to revamp the culture of the organization.
Yes, Organized Team Activities are "voluntary" but this has been a time when players get their chance to display their level of commitment to the cause, the "winning" cause.
Schiano is pleased with the way things have gone, and he made that clear in an interview with Albert Breer of NFL.com:
"We're all men here with different roles—mine is head coach and theirs are as players. It's demanding, what we're asking, it's not easy, but it's the best thing," said Schiano.
"The buy-in has been great, they've been working incredibly hard. We gave them this week off and we'll come back with OTAs and the mini-camp. But so far the guys have been excellent. It was a change for them but we didn't just do it, we explain to them the reasoning and once they heard that, they get it. Hey, they want to win."
After the mid-month mini-camp, the players can take a last vacation if they wish.
We're close, getting closer. Schiano's turned up the sense of urgency at One Buc Place, and he'll turn that dial up even higher at the end of July.
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