Jeff Fisher is back in the NFL as a head coach, but he returns to a different league than the one he left following the 2010 season.
Well, not radically different. The football is still oblong and Bill Belichick still wears a hoodie, but the new collective bargaining agreement significantly altered the offseason schedule.
On Monday, teams that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2011 regular season may begin offseason workout programs. Fisher is doing just that with the St. Louis Rams, introducing himself to players and installing offensive and defensive schemes.
"It's four hours a day for four days (a week) for the first two weeks," Fisher told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday.
Under the previous CBA, Fisher would've started this process last month. He believes the new system presents challenges.
"It's difficult, not only for quarterbacks but for young players to develop because you're waiting so long," Fisher said. "Not that you have to go to the extreme, but it would be great to be able to have the quarterback in the building, especially from a new head coach's standpoint and from an installation standpoint with a new offense."
Fisher has plenty of work to do with Sam Bradford, who must soak up his third offensive game plan in three years in the league. Bradford couldn't touch the Rams' playbook until Monday morning, a rule Fisher doesn't think makes sense.
"If a quarterback wants to come in the building in February and March and sit down and look at the previous year or watch (tape) cut-ups with the coordinator or get in the (play)book, I just feel like he should be allowed to do that," Fisher said. "Not forced to go do that. But it doesn't make sense to me that you can't have your quarterback in the building and doing things until April when this is a quarterback-driven league and we have difficulties as it is developing young quarterbacks. So I hope that they'd consider that."
Fight the power, Jeff.
Other teams permitted to begin their offseason program on Monday included the Raiders, Dolphins, Buccaneers, Jaguars and Colts. Teams with a returning head coach may begin offseason workout programs on April 16.