All across the NFL, rookies have joined their respective teams and have begun participating in rookie mini-camps. However, for some — like the New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals — the two additional weeks leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft has thrown things a bit out of whack.
For Big Blue, they were already in the midst of their offseason program, just recently entering phase two. So, as opposed to a separate rookie mini-camp, the team chose to forego that option and, instead, have integrated their rookies into the program alongside the veterans.
"There are reasons for why there isn't a rookie minicamp," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "It's never been done before. In the past you've had to work it so that when they came for the minicamp, they stayed. Well, we're into the [offseason] program, we're on the field four days a week, so to shut this thing down so we can have a rookie minicamp or do something, a one-day camp on the weekend, we could have them on the field [this past] Tuesday [instead]."
It's a trial by fire of sorts. But given the loss of two additional offseason weeks and the fact that Big Blue is learning an entirely new offensive system, Coughlin & Co. believed the smartest move was getting the rookies involved in the program out of the gate. And, hey, a little veteran leadership can't hurt.
"It is integrating them right into the program," Coughlin added. "Certainly they'll be right with our veteran players right from the get-go."
Although a bit hectic for the rookies — especially those who had not even laid eyes on the playbook before being put on the field — it may be beneficial in the long run to have less time to think. Instead, they need to learn as quickly as possible and react.
For some, this may be a blessing. For others, a nightmare. Only time will tell.
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