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Coach Kingsbury, Please Don’t Take the Bait

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Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Coach Kingsbury,

Today a number of the Saints players are saying that Sean Payton has informed them that there will be no virtual meetings or virtual workouts this off-season and that the one thing they are asking the players to do is to come to training camp in the proverbial “best shape of their lives.”

No, Coach, please don’t take this bait.

While Sean Payton may be cheered by many players around the league for being such a cool coach to do this, let’s remind ourselves that Payton enjoys the luxury of having a largely veteran roster, with all his key starters returning, led from the top by 1st ballot HOF QB Drew Brees.

Coach, if you elect to do the same or cut the virtual meetings and workouts drastically short, it could be the same kind of mistake you made during the bye week when you canceled practices and let the players go early.

It took the players 2-3 weeks to catch up upon their return.

Trust is a things that’s earned, right, Coach?

During trying times such as these, a little structure for the players during the week for an hour or so a day will have strong advantages when it comes to reconvening as a team.

The players are still trying to learn and get fluent with the your K-Raid, with Vance Joseph’s version of the 34 and with Jeff Rodgers’ detailed approach to special teams. Anything you can do to enhance the players’ understanding and confidence can make a profound difference.

You have a host of new players to integrate into your system---and over the weekend that number will grow significantly. You also have over a dozen rookies from last year, most of whom really need to show up big-time this year.

As a Cardinals’ fan of over 57 years, I have rarely seen a Cardinals’ team come to camp in great mental and physical shape. You and your coaches can turn what has so often been a “country club” culture into a “common goal” culture. I believe that we are seeing positive signs of that already.

But, please don’t assume that most or all of the players share your work ethic just yet----keep their heads and bodies in the game---and give them daily reminders of what the team’s common goal is.

Please work them a little each day during the week, Coach, don’t let them slide.

Thanks for taking the Cardinals as far as you did in year one. The buzz surrounding the team is extremely exciting. You often talk about the hard work it takes to win---please keep pushing that agenda, Coach.

With great appreciation,

Walter Mitchell