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Two NFL teams announce use of virtual reality technology


Two NFL teams announce use of virtual reality technology


Football’s technological boom is on the way, and it looks like a couple teams are getting ahead of the curve. 

According to a report by The Boston Globe, the Patriots this year will become the fourth team to use virtual reality technology, joining the Cowboys, 49ers, and Buccaneers. 

STRIVR, a company launched by Stanford grad Derek Belch with the purpose of bringing virtual reality to football, is taking the sport by storm. 

The Patriots are the third team to use the specific technology, in addition to high-powered college programs such as Arkansas, Auburn, and Stanford. 

The technology allows for players to put on large ski-like goggles where they can see an entire actual play from practice unfold before their eyes from the quarterback’s perspective. 

You turn to the left – you see receivers lining up. Turn right – linemen are settling into ready position. Then the whistle blows, and the play unfolds before your eyes as it did in real life. 

Everything is real – from the sights to the sounds. 

The technology is most useful to quarterbacks, who can go through the playbook and read opposing defenses over and over again without leaving their homes or dorm-rooms. 

It can be beneficial for every position, though, and teams have started to take notice. 

“We’re trying to provide a complementary tool that we feel can be effective in training and helping players learn faster,” Belch told The Globe. “We’ve had a lot of people tell us this is going to be everywhere over the next two or three years.” 

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema seemed to agree: 

“When I watched what Derek had put together, I thought, ‘This is going to change the game of football as we know it,’ ” he told The Globe. 

“It’s human beings. It’s you in a huddle. It’s your voice. It’s your script. It’s your set up. That set it apart from everything else I’d ever seen. It escalates the learning curve beyond exponential numbers. It’s absolutely amazing what it can do for a young player. 

“Your biggest dream as a coach is to have every one of your players know as much as you know,” he continued. “That is very seldom met. It’s a very rare quality to make that happen. But if you can get a younger player to take in the volume of reps that makes you get there as coach, by doing it the exact same way without having to call a practice, that is worth it’s weight in gold.” 

Virtual reality is no longer on the way – it’s here. 

And – if they don’t want to be left behind – everyone else better catch up soon.

MORE NFL: EA Sports trolls Seahawks 

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VIDEO: Montae Nicholson and Vernon Davis return to Redskins OTAs

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VIDEO: Montae Nicholson and Vernon Davis return to Redskins OTAs

Montae Nicholson and Vernon Davis were among those absent at Monday's open Redskins OTAs session, and both absences were surprising considering each player's somewhat unsteady spot on the roster.

Nicholson's second year with the Redskins was a struggle both on and off the field, while Davis is often mentioned as someone who might be in line for a contract restructuring or even a release. 

However, thanks to a video that the Redskins posted on Instagram, it's now clear that the safety and the tight end have since returned to Ashburn to work with their fellow teammates:

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8️⃣5️⃣ putting in the work

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It's an especially encouraging development for Nicholson, who should be doing whatever he can to get back in the good graces of the coaching staff. Whatever the reason for his absence was on Monday, it's a good sign to see that he didn't stay away too long. 


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Most OTAs absences don't matter, but Montae Nicholson's absence sure stands out

Most OTAs absences don't matter, but Montae Nicholson's absence sure stands out

Most of the time, if you're getting upset about an NFL player skipping voluntary OTAs, you're doing life wrong.

But if you're a Redskins fan who's a bit puzzled by Montae Nicholson not showing up to the early sessions of Washington's offseason workouts, you have a right to be.

Nicholson wasn't in Ashburn on Monday, a practice that was open to the media. There's been no indication that he's reported to the 'Skins since, either (UPDATE: Here's a video proving he has since returned, which is an encouraging sign). 

Now, this isn't a situation worth really freaking out about. Again, OTAs are voluntary, and it's totally possible Nicholson was working out somewhere else and feels that's how he'll be best prepared for 2019. 

Still, though, assuming he had nothing else serious going on, it's a questionable choice by the defensive back. And, according to Jay Gruden, it was a questionable choice he made on his own.

"Correct," Gruden answered Monday when asked if Nicholson skipping was based on the 23-year-old's decision. Gruden said earlier in his presser that he was "not really surprised" by it.

Perhaps the coach is telling the truth and he wasn't surprised. You can bet he was definitely annoyed by it, however.

Nicholson isn't an established player like Trent Williams or Josh Norman, other guys who weren't there when the Burgundy and Gold started this phase of the NFL calendar. He's a third-year safety with 22 up-and-down games to his name.

Not only that, he's just a week or so removed from the news that December assault charges against him were dropped due to a lack of evidence. You'd think someone who just learned that would be eager to get in front of Gruden and his coaching staff and try to repair his image.

After all, much of the same coaching staff who preferred to keep Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the lineup over Nicholson, even as Clinton-Dix struggled following his arrival, remains in charge.  

The starting spot opposite of Landon Collins is wide open, and of the options on the roster, Nicholson is the most talented. He also would fit nicely next to Collins, considering he's got the speed and ability in coverage when he's healthy and mentally right.

Speaking of Collins, he attended OTAs, despite the fact that he wasn't able to participate as he continues to rehab a shoulder injury. Yet there he was, involved and roaming the sidelines, encouraging his teammates and coaching up the younger DBs on various techniques and details.

One of those DBs Collins should've been coaching up is Nicholson, yet Nicholson was nowhere to be found. Plenty more reps await Nicholson over the coming months, but the fact that he wasn't there to claim the first helping of them is not the best way to start his path back into the starting lineup.