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John Lott Pushes For Offseason Improvement

Strength and conditioning coach tries to prep players before they get on the field


Strength and conditioning coach John Lott spots defensive tackle Darnell Dockett during a lift at the Cardinals' voluntary workouts.

He can be seen jumping from machine to machine, helping this group of players one minute and that group the next.

He shouts instructions to the Cardinals on the bench press and then gives individual attention to those on the lat pulldown machines. Each lift is meticulously monitored. Each set diligently recorded. Each day spent in the weight room is a foundation for the next, building up to training camp and then to the season.

This is John Lott's time to shape and mold the latest rendition of the Cardinals' roster, both physically and figuratively.

"I think we'll start to see the benefits in OTAs, I think we'll start to see the benefits in December," said Lott, the Cardinals' strength and conditioning coach.

These April workouts don't just produce more muscle mass and high maxes. They help a team, especially one such as the

Cardinals who went through a significant restructuring, a chance to bond over weights.

"I think it builds a lot of camaraderie between the guys," safety Rashad Johnson said. "It's a lot of new faces. I think a lot of that stuff pays off now."

For the second straight day, most of the current 57-man roster attended the Cardinals' offseason strength and conditioning program, and Lott – along with assistant strength and conditioning coach Pete Alosi -- puts them to work. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, there are four fewer weeks to work out than before 2011. That means more has to be done in less time.

In the words of Lott, he's not buying green bananas. He wants them ripe.

To the players that means he expects them to report in shape, and if they're not, "they find out pretty quick we've left elementary, we're in junior high," Lott said.

Eventually every player will have a workout plan catered to his needs, but that won't come until later in the summer or training camp. For now, everyone shares the same schedule, even if Darnell Dockett won't be squatting the same amount of weight as Johnson, Lott pointed out.

Even with a new head coach in charge, Lott said he's essentially sticking to the same game plan as years past with a few tweaks here and there.

"I just think we need to do a better job," he said. "The last three years, I don't think we've done a better job. I need to look in the mirror as well, and as well as these players. I've made that abundantly clear that nobody is walking around like a banty rooster."

For the rest of the offseason conditioning schedule, Lott will instruct, direct and coach the Cardinals into the shape they need to be in for a run at the playoffs. But that also means not working the players too hard in April.

"You don't want to peak too early," Johnson said. "You don't want to peak in May with your workouts. You want to get to the point to when you hit camp you hit the ground and you're at your best. You're healthy. You're at your strongest. You're physically in shape.

"So I think these workouts and the way John Lott has been here and the way he's set things up, when we get into camp we're normally at our strongest and you just build from there."

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