Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith has a lot of time on his hands between now and July 30th. He instructed his team, coaches and staff to unplug from their playbooks temporarily and enjoy their time off. How could Smith possibly keep himself occupied that long without football? Here's a few ideas.
The Cleveland Browns are on the clock. No, not for the 2011 draft, but they are the first team to report to their training camp on July 23rd. Mike Smith could call Browns GM and guru of everything player-related, Mike Holmgren and request him to push the date up a week or two. Holmgren would most likely decline even though they can use the extra practice. The Falcons and Browns do have a date together October 10th in Cleveland so studying Browns jack-of-all-trades Josh Cribbs in advance would be well recommended.
The United States is out of the World Cup. I didn't like it either, but hey, Lionel Messi (pictured) and his Argentine teammates still are. They're a pretty good reason to still watch soccer because Messi and company are mopping the floor with everyone right now. Besides that, the World Cup has some things the NFL are missing: horrendous flopping, horrendous team celebrations and horrendous officiating. The tournament ends on July 11th, which still leaves Coach Smith with some time to kill.
Thirteen straight division titles, four pennants and one world championship later, Bobby Cox is the king of Atlanta coaching. In his final year before retirement, Cox has the Atlanta Braves in first place again and knows how to win the big games. Mike Smith should spend some time picking Bobby's brain. Smith has done well so far, but the next step is learning how to be a perennial winner. Cox can teach him a thing or thirteen.
"Hmm...Turner's a 90, Roddy's a 93, Tony Gonzalez is a 98" are some of the things possibly going through Mike Smith's head. As he loads up his special "in-the-know" copy of Madden '11, he's looking to get a feel for his 2010 Falcons with a revamped defense and an offense that's poised to put up big numbers.
Thumbs up to that! Coaches never sleep. They never take breaks no matter what the schedule says. They are the master strategists who eat, sleep and breathe their profession and the X's and O's to go along with it. Coach Smith recently said the Falcons have nearly 1,500 snaps that they'll be running in training camp starting on July 30th. Mike Smith isn't resting at all. He's only getting started.