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Matt Bowen’s guide to summer vacation for Eagles…

A beautiful early summer day in the Delaware Valley today… and Matt Bowen comes to the rescue again.

The Eagles have four weeks off before their job site calls them back to work… Thankfully Matt Bowen answered my call to supply us with a Pleasant Valley Sunday blurb…

Matt Bowen is a former NFL safety who now writes for the Chicago Tribune and the National Football Post…

This is an NFL player’s summer vacation, right here and right now… For the Eagles, it’s 29 days of alleged relaxation with family and friends before the whistle blows to start TC at Lehigh University in late July…

But as Matt Bowen reminds us, these next four to five weeks require some attention to preparation for the job ahead.

Here’s Matt:

“With veteran minicamps wrapping up across the league, NFL players will get four to five weeks of “vacation” before they report to training camp. Head back home, spend time with family and relax before the 2012 season starts and the pads go on…”

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“However, this is also a key time, a key period of the offseason when players physically and mentally prep to compete, win jobs and make rosters. Let’s take a look at what these players will focus on before the first practice of training camp.”

Footwork: It applies to every position, and I believe it needs to be practiced daily. Whether you are a DB working your plant and drive or a receiver running the route tree, footwork is key to production. And you can’t let your footwork deteriorate before camp starts. Get on the field, push yourself through position specific drills and show up ready to compete.

Playbook/film study: This is the perfect time to get into your playbook and turn on the tape. If you are a DB, draw up formations and make adjustments based on the scheme you play in. Ask the video department to make some cut-ups, study your divisional opponents and get a jump on your opening day matchup. Think of it this way: there are no correction periods during training camp practices, and NFL coaches won’t wait around for you to pick up the scheme.

Conditioning: Both linear and lateral work here. Forget treadmills. As a player, you need to work with functional football movements (shuttle runs, change of direction drills). Condition your body with movements you will use on the field. There is no “drill” that can emulate pro football in an competitive environment (with pads on). Players know this. However, you have to show up in top shape if you want to survive camp.

Strength/speed: Five weeks is enough time to work on a strength/speed program in the weight room and see some gains. Again, functional movements that increase explosive power. Think plyometrics, Olympic movements (clean, snatch, push jerk), kettle bells, etc. No bodybuilding lifts. Train as an athlete. Speed and explosion are the ticket.

Act like a pro: Don’t be “the guy” that reports overweight, out of shape and ends up in the training room with a pulled muscle because he didn’t put in the time or effort to train. Use these five weeks to improve your body and mentally prepare to compete. This isn’t a real vacation. This is a time to prep for a long season.

Thanks again, Mr. Bowen… his key words— This isn’t a real vacation.

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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