2011 NFL Lockout: Veteran Teams Will Have an Edge Early

Derek CrouseContributor IIIJuly 5, 2011

In the 2011-12 season, foundation planted in 2010 will be key.
In the 2011-12 season, foundation planted in 2010 will be key.Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The NFL has created problems for many prognosticators and experts alike. Usually by this time of year, the MGM Grand and many other Las Vegas sports books have their microscope on and usually have very definitive odds. The problems that can arise now is teams are far from complete from a practice and preparation standpoint.

In the NFL, the teams that have the best groundwork are the franchises that typically come out on top.

We are less than three weeks from the start of training camp. While there are players who are in Arizona or with their team trying to prepare, many players are still on the beach or just waiting for the players and owners to find the golden number. The argument whether to practice or not to practice is the big issue.

Both sides have good reasons for the stand they take.

Players like Reggie Bush take the “I’m not going to put my body through training mode for free." While a young player like Reggie Bush might not have to prepare physically because he tends to stay in shape, he is prone to injury.

For a running back in particular, being in football shape is a necessity. Other players like the Clay Matthews who is the backbone of the Green Bay Packers 3-4 is going through MMA type workouts and will probably improve on the stellar season he had last year.

Actually, many players are looking to MMA workouts to stay in shape while they wait for the season to get underway. What will happen when Matthews goes for a crushing hit against Bush during the first game of the season?

Will preparation be a factor?

The teams who have laid the foundation for their team in 2010 will have a big edge in the 2011-12 season. Teams that are moving a lot of pieces or that have young unprepared talent could falter with a short season; with absolutely no OTAs. Teams that were looking at signing free agents are still waiting to get them on the roster.

The more moves that a franchise has to make this summer will determine how the season will pan out for them, especially initially during the beginning of the regular season.

Crafty veterans already know the little nuances of their position. This is the time of the year where young talent can develop those same types of skills.

Teams like the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens might have a big edge over the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins.

The teams with a good mix of veteran talent and a foundation already set in stone will rack up wins early in the season, which will lead to playoff spots down the road. Before you start placing bets early this season, take a second to look at age of the team as well as how long the coaching staff and time that the core players have been together.

Preparation is many times more important than the task at hand. Just like in the military, most fall back on their training when the going gets tough.