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NFL Lockout: Will they or won't they?

Settlement talks resumed yesterday after a holiday weekend hiatus. NFL owners and players were not in the room, however. Instead, their lawyers worked on the finer points of the language that will spell out the new deal. Everything should be fine, right? Fool. Progress is in the eye of the beholder. Optimism and pessimism depend on which source a pundit talks a particular time of the day.

This is why they have a gag order. Some gag order.

The latest downer comes via ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, who says that things are moving slow enough that the first week of the preseason is now in real jeopardy. I assume he means the August 7 Hall of Fame Game, featuring the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears.

Sounding a trumpet of reason and patience, Mike Silver penned a column yesterday that now stands as required reading for any NFL fan sick to death of the peaks and valleys of lockout reporting. The gist of Silver's piece is that both sides will get a deal done, just in time. Arguing and speculating about which day of the month it happens is meaningless. That goes for the Rams and Bears, especially. Scheduled to play the HOF Game on August 7, all the talk about needed prep time is overwrought for a "glorified scrimmage."

...while it might not be fair for the Rams and Bears to be the only two teams forced to confront the start of free agency after having already started training camp, their respective front offices will be told to stop their whining and start multitasking, and the sun will still rise in the east.

In short, Billy Devaney's a good GM who can make it work, in spite of those strange parameters. And if he can't, well, Rams fans have suffered through far worse when guys like Charlie Armey and Jay Zygmunt had months to prepare.

The lockout is almost over. Finally. A little more patience and a little less clock watching will make the time pass even faster. Hang in there Rams fans.