Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hell Week, with Donavan McNabb

Here's something interesting, from the Washington Post:

Donovan McNabb's 'Hell Week' gives Redskins' offense a chance to get in sync
Donovan McNabb's "Hell Week" is scheduled to get underway bright and early Monday morning in Arizona. ... McNabb invited the Redskins' wide receivers, tight ends and running backs to Arizona to take part in his regular offseason workout program. It's the same opportunity he offered in the past few years to his former teammates in Philadelphia. Wide receivers Devin Thomas, Santana Moss and Malcolm Kelly are among those expected to participate. McNabb calls it "Hell Week" because of the demanding nature of his workouts, and also because of the extreme summertime heat.
The Redskins' players were expected to land in Phoenix on Sunday with an itinerary waiting for them. The week was expected to begin with an early wake-up call and the players reporting each morning to Fischer Sports, the 20,000-square foot workout facility where McNabb does most of his offseason training. There, Brett Fischer, McNabb's trainer, will lead the group through workouts and exercises nearly identical to the ones the quarterback does during the offseason.
"For them, I think it's an eye-opener what we're doing," said Fischer, whose résumé lists him as a physical therapist, an athletic trainer and a strength-and-conditioning specialist. "I think it's an eye opener for them, comparing themselves with their quarterback, with how hard he's working out here. To me, it's him telling them, 'Hey, I'm taking this thing seriously to the next level. Let's go to the next level.' " ... "People, when they come in here and they see what he does, they're shocked," Fischer says.
After a rest, McNabb summons the players to an area high school field in the late afternoon, where they work on routes. They also will assemble for seven-on-seven drills, against other athletes trained by Fischer, including New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. ... After the workouts, McNabb and his teammates head to a movie or dinner. The key, they say, is just being around each other as much as possible.
The annual week was a staple of McNabb's offseason routine with the Eagles, and it brought him closer to former teammates such as L.J. Smith, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett and Lorenzo Booker.
I never knew McNabb was one of "those" guys. There are a few NFL players who are/were famous for their offseason conditioning routines. How hard they worked to keep themselves ready. And these guys are largely huge stars, and players of great longevity: Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Ray Lewis, guys like that. Nolan Ryan, in baseball.

("Exceptionally" hard physical work is sort of a nebulous concept when applied to an NFL player. Don't they all prepare themselves exceptionally hard? Well sure, compared to me. I can barely carry the kid upstairs without getting short of breath. But supposedly some guys stand out even from the body of NFL players, in terms of how hard they train. For example, there were a ton of anecdotes about some young receiver or DB showing up to run with Jerry Rice, and never coming back for day 2.)

I never knew McNabb was one of those guys who worked exceptionally hard to prepare himself physically. Somehow that tidbit had not leaked out to national fandom.

And then on top of that, to run essentially a passing camp for your team, every year: that's pretty amazing. Lots of QBs are talked about as "leaders": Manning, Brady et al. But who the hell does that? Another tidbit that had not leaked out to national fandom. Maybe Pheagles fans knew about it, but it had not made it to national attention.

And that all by itself is interesting. McNabb has always been a somewhat controversial figure in the NFL; people have always disagreed about exactly how good he is, even before Chris' examination of McNabb's Hall pass.

And it's usually been true that people closest to the game, players and ex-coaches and ex-scouts, seem to respect him more than media types and statheads and fans. Stuff like this may be part of the reason why.


  1. I respect him! I picked him as my QB for my very first (and probably only) Fantasy Football team.

  2. Oh no dude, you're playing next season. Totally.

  3. Everyone in Iggletown knew about that. I think some year's he didn't do OTAs because he was already 'doing them' out in Zona in the heat with the WRs/TEs.

  4. "Everyone in Iggletown knew about that."

    It really does amaze me how much some people just never find out about players if they don't live in the town where they play. It's why whenever I'm really digging deep for FFL info, the first place I stop are local papers.


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