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Seven NFL teams start offseason workouts

Seven NFL teams kick off Phase 1 of their offseason workout program Monday.

Per the collective bargaining agreement, teams with new head coaches get a two-week head start on Phase 1, which includes meeting with players and conditioning work. The workouts are classified as voluntary.

Players are restricted to weight-room training and on-field conditioning. Coaches aren't permitted on the field or in the weight room, but they can conduct meeting-room instructional sessions.

The seven teams that can begin today:

Cleveland Browns (coach Mike Pettine)
Detroit Lions (Jim Caldwell)
Houston Texans (Bill O'Brien)
Minnesota Vikings (Mike Zimmer)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Lovie Smith)
Tennessee Titans (Ken Whisenhunt)
Washington Redskins (Jay Gruden)

Getting a jump on learning a new playbook is a boon for new coaches. However, the rule barring player-coach contact for other teams has come under scrutiny.

Teams like the Baltimore Ravens, who have a new offensive coordinator, aren't given the courtesy of extra prep work on a new playbook. John Harbaugh bashed the restrictions at last month's NFL Annual Meeting.

Likewise, St. Louis Rams general manager Les Snead took issue with the current system.

"In what other profession does the best at what they do take 15 weeks off?" Snead told TheMMQB.com's Greg Bedard on Sunday night. "You think Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett or people trying to find the cure for cancer take 15 straight weeks off? I'm not saying you bring these players in and grind them into meat, because at the end of the day that's not helping you either.

"Especially with the younger guys, the ones that just finished their rookie seasons, they don't get a chance to progress, not saying physically because a lot of these guys are training, but mentally. I think it hurts them, stunts their growth and I think it can be changed without on-field football work even being involved."

In the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast", the guys welcome Browns star Joe Haden to the studio and talk about the uncertain future of Chris Johnson.

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