Strength and conditioning coaches John Lott (left) and Pete Alosi continue to work out as they normally would while waiting out the labor situation.
As usual, during an offseason midweek morning downstairs in the weight room of the Arizona Cardinals, John Lott and Pete Alosi are working out.
Lott, the Cards' strength and conditioning coach and Alosi, his assistant coach, always need to be in shape. When they are working with players in the offseason – and there are always two groups on non-OTA days, one at 7:30 a.m. and one at 10 a.m. – both coaches participate, so they better be ready.
The difference, of course, is that here in May with the labor situation still unresolved, they are training on their own.
"You've got to play the hand you've been dealt," Lott said.
In some ways, it's like an extended winter, Alosi said. After the season ends and the players scatter for a break, Lott and Alosi are still plugging away. Usually, though, there are at least a few players hanging around, rehabbing injuries and the like. Otherwise, the strength coaches are on their own, and the current setup (save for one Friday morning during the draft) is a weird reminder as the hot weather sets in.
"You keep expecting the guys to roll in," Alosi said, "and it doesn't happen."
Lott bellowing his motto of "Get Your Mind Right" is a staple for the locker room. The offseason is his time of year, when he bonds with players and pushes them. He notes coach Ken Whisenhunt made sure to tell the players before they left they needed to be professionals and be ready whenever they returned. That wouldn't have been a surprise; center Lyle Sendlein noted the day after the season every player would be prepared to have a backup workout plan if a work stoppage came to pass, because "it's our job."
Lott worries most about the rookies, since they have never played in the NFL and "they don't know what they don't know." But there isn't anything he can do about it right now, so he and Alosi maintain the same workouts they'd be doing at this point even if players were around.
The two have changed up a bit. On this particular day they are using some isometric exercises, like holding a towel while the other creates resistance. They are still lifting weights and, out on the field, doing plyometric exercises like jumping up on to boxes. Last week, they timed their shuttle work and hit the right times, letting them know they are where they need to be. That's important, because when the current situation is resolved and players return, Lott plans to pick up the offseason work where it would normally be, rather than starting at the beginning.
"We know when these guys come back in – since we do both conditioning sessions – we know we could run both of those and that's the goal," Alosi said.
In many ways, Lott is like a fish out of water without players to steer these days. He wants to see the players bond too, observing how young defenders can watch an old pro like linebacker Clark Haggans work and have that "invaluable" knowledge passed down to the new generation, because "you don't know how much longer the circus is going to stay in town for Clark."
"I miss Fitzy and Dock and A-Dub," Lott said. "I miss my linemen. I miss messing with Jeremy Bridges, Lyle Sendlein. You miss having them around. Guys like Daryl Washington and Obi-Wan Kenobi (O'Brien Schofield). This benefits them. They no longer have to go to algebra or psychology (like in college). This is football. This is when they gain. I am anxious to see how they come back."
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