In a unique offseason, where the lockout has eliminated player-team contact, rookies getting playbooks turned into a big deal during the draft.
There was a brief window where the lockout was lifted last Friday, Day 2 of the draft, where picks made the rounds with their respective teams and had a chance to talk with coaches and get a copy of the playbook.
As one coach explained, they were totally organized and crammed in as much information as they could in the short period of time they had.
Another coach had a different perspective when asked if he was getting his playbook to draft picks.
"No, we think the playbook would probably wind up in the trunk of his car and never be read anyway. What is important to us is to get these guys in here, in a classroom and on the practice field. Without the coach and the repetitions, the playbook makes little sense."
I tend to agree with the second coach, believing words on paper mean little to a 22-year-old rookie. Even though I might give the player some material to bring home and read, a video playbook with techniques, calls and adjustments is a much better tool with limited time. A picture is worth a thousand words.
I once worked on an NFL team's playbook that was being converted into a video game. We never finished the project because the coordinator I was working with left the team. Right now, that video playbook would be a competitive edge for the team trying to give its rookies a leg up on the process.
For the teams that haven't changed systems or coordinators, the best way for the rookies to learn during the lockout is to get together with the veterans. The bad news: There are 23 new coordinators in the NFL this year.