Blazers open training camp: Let the clichés begin

TUALATIN --- Training camp opened for the Trail Blazers Tuesday ... and that meant the cliches were flying hot and heavy.

I feel sorry for the players and coaches this time of the year. They finish up the very first practice and then face the assembled cameras, trying very hard to say something reasonable, fair and different. Maybe even intelligent. Alas, few succeed in the "different" department.

It's about the same every season. Even Terry Stotts admitted it -- every year a coach stands in front of the crowd and vows his team will play better defense (or at least try to). Stotts talked about it with a smile on his face and, I'm sure, meant every word of it.  His players did, too, when asked about it.

But talking about it and doing it are much different things.

There were other buzzwords Tuesday at the team's practice facility. "Toughness" was a big one, as was "accountability." Players say they are going to hold each other accountable and not worry so much about hurting the other guy's feelings. And they want to play with a little more toughness Again, solid concepts that could lead to improved performance.

"Inconsistency" was another word tossed around like a bean bag at a corn hole tournament. No doubt consistency is something every team in every sport strives for -- but it's never as easy as it would seem. But an awareness of the problem always helps and Stotts has certainly made his troops aware of previous seasons' ups and downs, even going so far as presenting a graphic at Monday night's team meeting.

I'm not knocking anybody for wandering down Cliche Road. We all do it and events such as the first day of practice seem to beg for their use. How will the season go?

All I can say is, you never know. It is what it is. Only time will tell.

We shall see.