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updated: 7/19/2011 10:58 PM

Could be fun with less time for coaching

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Let's assume media reports are accurate for a change and the NFL lockout will end later this week.

The subsequent season will be the most intriguing ever because it will be the most foreign. The league dislikes foreign, except of course selling jerseys to the Czechs.

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NFL owners, executives, general managers, coaches and players are the world's most regimented people, and they'll soon be squirming.

Everything from signing free agents to indoctrinating rookies to setting up training camps will be a big jumble.

They say, "Oh, no, we missed minicamp! Oh, no, we missed organized team activities! Oh, no, we missed weightlifting!"

I say, "Oh, goody!"

Seriously, this could be great because teams will enter season openers with less coaching than ever.

It'll be fascinating to see whether the Bears are better or worse after less direction from Lovie Smith.

I don't mean that to be another shot at the Bears' head coach. But Smith, like most coaches, is a control freak who wants the calendar to proceed according to the stopwatch around his neck.

Anything else drives coaches crazy. As a result, football winds up being played more by playbooks than by players.

This season's rosters will be set late and players won't have much time to digest systems before lining up for openers on the second weekend in September.

The Bears specifically won't have had another off-season in coordinator Mike Martz's complex offense. My goodness, Jay Cutler and his teammates might have to coordinate themselves on the field the first couple of games.

How novel, huh, players actually having to think on their own instead of being programmed like robots?

What a joy it would be to see quarterbacks kneeling in the huddle and diagraming the next play into whatever the playing surface is.

Perhaps the teams with an arm up would be the ones with veteran, cerebral quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and Tom Brady in New England.

Those guys pretty much run their offenses anyway, so being coached less than usual wouldn't make much difference.

Who knows, though? It might even help the Bears if Cutler were coached less and allowed to improvise more. Aren't some of his best plays when he's forced out of the pocket and his instincts are allowed to make something happen on the run?

"Devin, you go deep Greg, you slip out over the middle Matt, you block the blitz I'll do whatever flashes like a lightning bolt from my head to my body."

That would be more fun than a two-step drop and throw to a spot. The Bears might not be better this way, but they would be more interesting and likely more likable.

Most coaches never would dump the headset helmets and let the quarterback call his own plays like they did in the old days.

But maybe out of necessity they'll have to give their QBs more freedom to make plays rather than to fall down in a fetal position after a breakdown or throw the ball away at the first sign of danger.

Anyway, this could be a kick, this reportedly imminent scramble to fill out rosters, prepare in practice and endure the mysteries that loom.

If nothing else, it'll be neat to see coaches and everybody else in the NFL squirming to regain control during the next couple of months.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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