The offseason is a time for NFL players to rest and rejuvenate for the next NFL season. It's also a time for players to build their strength and endurance, and the weight room is where many players make their biggest strides during the offseason.
That's where Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton comes into play.
"We’ve already got a great weight room, but in square footage we’re probably on the lower end, so we’ve worked in small groups," Morton said. "We’ve been very effective. It gets better attention from our players. We coach on teaching, encouragement, correction and that works better when you can control numbers. Part of the reasoning is with the CBA, times have been crunched a little bit and you have to be more efficient, which means larger group training. It’s a double-edged sword."
The 2011 CBA now limits the time players can be in the facility during the offseason, so managing each player's workout routine for the offseason is a strenuous task, but he manages.
Morton also plans to unveil a GPS system that monitors players during conditioning sessions and practices in the spring minicamp, as well as training camp and regular-season practices:
The GPS tracks heart rate, movement, acceleration, deceleration, change-of-direction, distance traveled, and velocity. One of the major benefits of keeping track of a player's workload is knowing when to back him off in order to prevent injuries of overuse, such as soft tissue problems with calves, groins, and hamstrings.
"We want to get a better handle on what we’re doing. We’re always talking about recovery and keeping guys healthy," Morton said. "This is an objective measure of what we’re doing on the field, as opposed to time and number of plays. This measures it out."
This new GPS software is becoming commonplace among college and NFL teams. Kentucky strength and conditioning coach Erik Korem unveiled a similar system last year.