The NFL announced Thursday that all teams will open their facilities to players at 8 a.m. ET Friday.
Players will be allowed to meet with coaches and teams can distribute playbooks to players and begin OTA and minicamp practices, subject to rules from the last collective bargaining agreement, according to a report on ESPN.com. Plans for free agency and the trading period will come Friday.
There is lot of moving parts with the lockout situation and it is fluid. However, this latest development is important. As far as the AFC West is concerned, it is vital for first-year coaches John Fox (Denver) and Hue Jackson (Oakland) to get their playbooks in the hands of their players. Jackson had a head start because he was Oakland’s offensive coordinator last season.
I think two AFC West players who particularly benefit from going back into their team’s building are quarterbacks Tim Tebow (Denver) and Matt Cassel (Kansas City). Tebow needs all the work he can get at the facility as he vies to be Denver’s starting quarterback in 2011. Cassel needs to get to work with new Kansas City quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn.
This decision isn't all that we’ve been looking for, but it’s a good start to ensuring there is football in 2011.