Will new pads slow players down & trim injuries?


Will new pads slow players down & trim injuries?

The NFL is going to require knee and thigh pads in 2013 following measures adopted this week by the leagues Competition Committee. The players dont particularly like the idea, and the reason raises an interesting thought.

The simple assumption is that the pads are intended to protect knees and thighs. They probably are, although when linemen and others want to protect knees, they wear big, hinged contraptions that do far more than any pad.

But players have opined that the pads slow them down in a sport that places a premium on speed. That is significant.

Simple physics say that speed is an exponentially greater factor in force than mass. In football terms, if you slow the players down, you diminish the force delivered, and that takes down the impact.

When race tracks want to slow horses down for handicapping purposes, they use weight. Its an equalizer.

The difference on a football field isnt likely to be especially perceptible. All players will have basically the same handicap.

But will it slow a defensive back reacting up to hit a receiver coming across the middle? Probably a little. Will it slow a running back slightly as he drives into a tackler? Probably a little.

Backs and receivers will claim the added weight and encumbrance reduces their escapability. Linebackers and DBs will object to anything that slows their closing on a target. (O- and D-linemen are probably over in the corner smiling).

Nothing will materially affect head injuries, for instance, until theres a culture change, and that takes more than a Competition Committee mandate.

But if injuries are the result of the familiar players are just bigger and faster now, something that makes them a little less faster, by their own accounts, makes for some interesting possible adjustments.

Oilers, Blackhawks' play-in round opponent, release training camp roster

Oilers, Blackhawks' play-in round opponent, release training camp roster

Sunday afternoon, the Edmonton Oilers released their Phase 3 training camp roster. Training camps begin on Monday for teams competing in the NHL's 24-team playoffs under the league's Return To Play program. 

The Blackhawks, who were at No. 12 in the Western Conference at the time of the NHL pause on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will face the No. 5 Oilers starting Aug. 1 at Edmonton in a best-of-five qualifying round. 

Related: Oiler's Mike Green opts out of NHL's Return To Play program

Edmonton invited 33 players to attend their Return To Play camp.

Forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl headline the team's roster. Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith are among the five goalies listed.

Western Conference teams will head to Edmonton's ICE District hub to prepare for the postseason tournament on July 26.

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Trey Lance to the Bears? This 2021 mock draft thinks so

Trey Lance to the Bears? This 2021 mock draft thinks so

Barring some kind of career-year from Mitch Trubisky or Nick Foles, the 2021 NFL Draft will likely center around quarterback for the Chicago Bears. And while that's not necessarily good news for Bears fans, it could be worse. Next year's draft class will have a handful of quality quarterbacks with first-round grades.

In the latest mock draft from The Draft Wire, the Bears spend their first-round pick on North Dakota State darling, Trey Lance. The FCS standout is the apple of Draft Twitter's eye during the first wave of summer scouting, with some respected draft analysts like The Athletic's Dane Brugler ranking him ahead of Ohio State star, Justin Fields.

The Bears use the 12th overall pick in this mock on Lance. By the time April rolls around, and assuming Lance stacks another productive season on top of his remarkable 2019 performance, it's unlikely he'll be around outside the top 10.

Lance threw for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and a remarkable ZERO interceptions in his first full season starting for the Bison. But that's not all; he ran for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns, too.

At an estimated 6-3 and 224 pounds, Lance checks all the early boxes for a franchise quarterback prospect. If he does end up leapfrogging Fields for QB2, he'll be a top-five pick.

But here's the catch: we just don't know enough about him yet. His 2019 season was fantastic, but it's the only one he has on film. And it was against FCS competition, which makes his projection to the NFL more difficult. It's a slippery slope to use Carson Wentz as an example to support Lance's ability to make the jump to the pros. Players like Wentz are the exception; they're few and far between.

It's only July, and the mock draft landscape will change multiple times between now and April. But if Trubisky and Foles fail to deliver in 2020, all mock drafts will have the Bears picking a quarterback. The only question is how high will the Bears be picking in Round 1, and which quarterback (if any) falls to their selection.