For NFL fans, June is just as dull as it ever was. For players, it's usually a break between the spring minicamps and the start of training camp in late July. However, the lockout, which started in March, has given players a new reality, one where they've been forced to find a way to stay in game shape and work on playbooks without team trainers or coaches.
Unofficial player workouts have made headlines during the void, but those can only fill so much time. Dedicated players have been creative in finding ways to accomplish what their team usually provides in a structured environment. St. Louis Rams third-year wide receiver Brandon Gibson has been dealing with the challenges of the lockout in his own way, including finding opportunities to workout in strange places. (Be sure to follow Gibson on Twitter @BGibson04).
Gibson talked to TST yesterday, providing a little insight into his offseason work. The first part of our interview with Gibson, after the jump.
As you might expect, Gibson has been working out to keep in top shape during the offseason.
Every morning I try to go run...and then I go to a facility and I do a bunch of functional work. I do that about three to four times a week. I mix that with running, and then I also run routes. I just try to stay in shape overall. Anything I'd be doing at OTAs, which is probably about 30 to 40 routes a day.
With a new offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, the Rams offense has a new set of routes. When Brandon mentioned route running as one of his regular offseason/lockout activities, I asked whether or not those routes were based on the new playbook.
Yes. I've been running routes based off the stuff we have, and our team meets up once a month and we're all trying to emulate all that and put it together.
Meeting up just once a month, there are still the days in between to fill. And Gibson's found an interesting way to fill those days, get his routes in and stay in shape.
It's kind of up in the air what to do. Some guys grab guys and they all workout.
I've also worked out with a bunch of Seahawks players because I'm from Seattle. They've been very welcoming and Matt Hasselbeck is a good guy and he was there leading the charge.
The dedicated players have had to be creative in finding ways to workout, even if that means working out with a division rival. At first blush, Gibson working out with the Seahawks is a little bit of shock, but given that there aren't an unlimited number of places for a professional football to workout with other professional football players, it's a smart move by Gibson. Another Rams wide receiver, Danario Alexander, worked out recently with his college teammate and Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin and some of his teammates recently.
From a fan's perspective, it's really refreshing to hear that the team's young players, like Gibson and Alexander, are finding ways to improve despite the lockout. It would be just as easy for a player to run, lift and hit the gym, leaving positional work for training camp. At times, I've rolled my eyes at the "four pillars" stuff, but when you hear about this level of dedication from players, it's clear that the Rams' emphasis on high character is paying dividends.
As far as the lockout goes, I asked Gibson if the Rams coaches gave players any sort of lockout prescription for activities, etc. before owners closed the gates. From that question, we talked a little bit more about the lockout and it's effect.
I don't think everyone knew that this was going to go on this long. It was kind of shocking to find out that we were going to be locked out for months. I think that it hurts the rookies and the free agents the most, they don't really know what's going on because there's nothing for them right now. They're in limbo as far as what team they'll be on.
And how are players like Gibson staying up to date on the developments with the NFL labor battle?
Adam Goldberg is our rep and we get get updates from email, and if we have questions we just call him. A lot of it is just what comes out on TV; we'll see it just like everyone else sees it.
At this point, what is Gibson looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to getting back to football. Just want to get back to my job.
Tomorrow, we'll hear what Gibson has to say about the Rams' new offense, where the team sits heading into 2011 and his thoughts on the team's selection of two wide receivers in this year's NFL draft.
Thanks again to Brandon for taking time out to talk to TST. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @BGibson04.