photo: Baltimore Ravens
Strength and conditioning is an important cog in the wheel of a football team’s performance.
On Tuesday, Ravens Head Conditioning Coach Bob Rogucki stressed this when he met with the media about the team’s offseason workout program.
“We are running two days a week as far as conditioning and we are doing skill work two days a week,” Rogucki announced. ”Our upper body days are Monday and Wednesday and lower body days are Tuesday and Thursday. We use Friday as a make up day.”
Due to the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, strength and conditioning programs are strict and all 32 teams must abide by them, a fact Rogucki was quick to point out.
“We’re only allowed to get four days in but can carry over into the fifth day if they want to make it up. Everything done in this first week can only pertain to this first week.”
Per the NFLPA, offseason workout programs are divided into three phases, with phase one consisting of two weeks, limited to strength and conditioning activities (“dead ball activities”). Only strength and conditioning coaches are allowed on field during these.
Phase two of the program, which Rogucki stated was set to begin next week, is limited to individual and “perfect play” drills (no offense vs. defense). All coaches are allowed on the field, not just strength and conditioning coaches.
Phase three of the offseason workout rules and programs involves four weeks, with 10 total days of organized team activities (“OTAs”). There is a maximum of three OTAs each week for the first two weeks, and a maximum of four for the third or fourth week, with the other week being the minicamp.
One key focus of the Ravens and Rogucki’s training program is that of the player’s neck.
“The neck is the most important area for us to train on upper body days. So it’s the first thing we do,” he stated.
“Our main objective,” Rogucki went on, “is to get these guys in shape as quick as we can and be safe as we’re doing that.”
The hardest part it seems for staff is how new players to the organization can get acclimated to the Ravens program, which is something that also has been limited due to the CBA.
“When a lot of guys come in from different programs we do a little bit more than a lot of teams do,” Rogucki explained.
“We expect a lot out of them. The bottom line is we got to get them strong and in shape as quick as we can because we are missing four weeks because of the late start time for us. So we’re attacking it as hard as we can and with the concept of being safe and making sure we are getting prepared for the next phase.”
Competition is key for both new players to the Ravens and older players when it comes to strength and conditioning. No players get special treatment. It doesn’t matter if you’re a starter or a practice squad player; everyone is equal when it comes to the program.
“Whoever is in our program is important. From Joe Flacco to the guy that’s running down on special teams to the guy that’s on the practice squad,” Rogucki noted.
“We don’t hold any difference in what your role is with the team. What I am concerned about is how I’m going to train this player as if he’s a starter. That’s how you have to approach it. You can’t say ‘ahh it’s the practice squad guys, we will get to them when we can.’ Everyone is important because you never know when that practice squad guy becomes Joe Flacco.”
So over the next few weeks the Ravens will be hitting the weights hard and getting in shape for OTAs and training camp and Rogucki will do what he does best: tuning the bodies and prepping them for such a long, physical season.
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