circus is media created, though. players are just trying to get together to get their minds focused on what the panthers are going to be doing this year. they have playbooks and no doubt will be working on what they have. many (probably most) learn better in group settings and then they'll have a chance to see what it looks like on the field and try to implement it.
sure, it would be better with coaches...but these guys are professionals. they know what they are doing. they aren't just a bunch of guys off the street pretending they are something they are not. they have enough vets who know how these things go. very likely that they have brought in a couple coaches to help facilitate and run things in the training room and on the field.
Good point about the media being the cause for the circus. (and maybe some fervent fans.)
@ the players being professionals:
Yes and No. Some players we are lucky to have because they are so self motivated and can bring those around them up.
The examples are the 2 player run "camps" before this one. Jon Beason in Miami with about 10ish players at a facility for athletes. The other being Jordan Gross who brought his personal trainer from Iowa in to train with about a dozen guys in Davidson? (Slightly north of Charlotte somewhere.)
(I exclude Newton since that was 1 on 1.)
Those guys I/we can count on to be on their game and following the techniques and methods a NFL team would be providing for them (for the most part.) Those guys are beasts and are self motivated.
We unfortunately dont have 52 leaders and even if we did There are a million other moving parts for a real NFL practice that simply can not exist at their "team camp" @ Char Christian. That is just a fact.
For one thing there are not specific position coaches. That isnt going to help anyone who isnt a multi year vet get better at what it takes to be elite. (Gettis, Lafell, Armani just to name guys who need to have taken it up a notch who need a route running Ricky Prohel yelling at them.)
They are not running routines or practices that would and should be done if they were actually practicing for real. 1 trainer can simply not focus on a TE like he could an O linemen. That lack of specificity makes some people better off just physically training outside this camp with a vet. Is something not specific better than something specific? I dont think so but some will disagree.
The biggest area of concern I have is the physical training/rehabbing. The icing, the heating pads, the wrapping sore/pulled areas, the ice baths, the necessary injections, the monitoring of anything from athelets foot to a sore ligament that may tear if not rehabbed for a couple weeks . The NFL teams put guidelines and penalties in place for the players because they KNOW that many players would other-wise shrug off many effective methods if left to their own devices. I know for a fact that these guys are not going out of pockets for the intense therapies that it takes to maintain such physiques.
A perfect example is that Thomas Davis tweeked something small in his knee a week or 2 ago playing sand volley ball. He does not have access (through the NFL or personally) to someone who will be treating that with all the knowhow and elite medical prowess that a NFL trainer would. He could but isnt.
I dont mean to be doom and gloom by a long shot. I am happy we have players meeting in any sense of an organized fashion. I just want everyone to remember that the level of training and treatment that they will receive is so shoddy that we can not take anything they do as realistically preparing for a NFL season.
After hours of class room studies (not to mention rookie symposium needs) these guys should be in 4hour 2 a days with contracted weight clauses, expectations of physique, knowledge of playbook, increased stamina, speed, route running etc... The exact opposite has been the case for 80-90% of our team. Im not saying they are schlubs and fattys but the effort it takes an NFL player to go from insanely fit, to NFL field ready has been a March-Sept training routine for a reason.
The last thing I will say that I am sure some will agree with me and some will not:
There are a LOT of NFL players that would not still be NFL players if not for the strict and monitored regiment that the NFL imposes on the athletes. They are not responsible or motivated enough to take themselves from amazing to elite.
If we think their personal behavior is bad during a CBA and terrible in the lack of one, would it not be reasonable to assume their level of training is also as poor if not poorer for a good chunk of players?