New Dolphins coach Adam Gase is re-tooling his rookie camp this weekend in a way that might soon be copied by every other head coach in the NFL.
His rookies won't be practicing.
Per the Miami Herald, Gase will take the team's draft picks and undrafted free agents -- 18 in total -- and educate them on scheme instead of forcing them onto the practice field for nebulous workouts. Outside of avoiding injury, it also avoids the "firehose" effect as some coaches call it -- the act of hurling a ton of information at rookies in a short period of time during training camp. Armando Salguero also notes that it will avoid further strain on rookies who just finished a season before training non-stop for the combine and pro day.
More than that, Gase plans to have "life labs." According to the Herald, that involves "nutrition, financial planning, sports science, and dealing with the media."
The camp will initially be panned by the old guard, especially for those who long for the days of full-contact training camp practices that lasted in excess of eight hours in the heat. But after watching the Jaguars lose their No. 3 overall pick to a non-contact injury on the first day of rookie camp last year, Gase is taking initiative while trying to maximize the amount of time he has with his youngest players before the break.
For those who have not played or spoken to rookie players, the first year of the NFL is an absolute shellshock. While Gase's program won't negate that entirely, it seems like Dolphins players may be better prepared than anyone else come August. At the least, they will have the tools.
There is nothing more frustrating for a coach than having to drag along a rookie during his first training camp.
It would not be a surprise to see other coaches talking about something similar next year. Leading an NFL team is more of a CEO operation than ever, and companies have been using tactics like this for decades to help out their new employees. Outside of the undrafted free agents, who are already begging for reps and on-field time and might miss the chance to do some drills in front of their coaches before camp, it will induct them in a more relaxing environment focused on learning.
Gase will find out who was truly paying attention once training camp starts a few months later.