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Blog Entry

What's the deal with 'players only meetings'?

Posted on: October 15, 2010 8:31 am

Posted by Andy Benoit

The Buffalo Bills might somehow be even worse than their 0-5 record suggests. Two days removed from a home loss to the Jaguars and heading into what will be their first non-losing Sunday of the season (their bye week), linebacker Reggie Torbor called one of those “players only” meetings we hear so much about.

A few things here…

1. You know how players only meetings go: whatever is said doesn’t leave the room. So, that in mind, take a look at the blue box below. Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News asked some players about the meeting. None of them said anything of substance (of course). But look how long their responses were! Gaughan actually took the time to type it all out. That’s admirable considering he had to have known he was getting “say nothing” quotes. The least we can do is reward the hard work (if you are so inclined to read the quotes, take a look at the blue box below).

2. Instead of “players only meetings”, how about we start calling them “No coaches allowed meetings”? Just to change it up.

3. Can you imagine the hyperbole and nonsense that must go on in these players only meetings? They’re always called out of desperation, and you can bet they’re a fantastic opportunity for veteran players to showcase their wisdom and passion for the game. And how about the clichés? An estimated 99.9 percent of players only meetings center around the theme of “us against the world” or “chip on our shoulder”.

4. Just once it’d be great to see a team broadcast its players only meeting live. A worthless 3-11 team could do it as a publicity stunt sometime. They could take the LeBron approach and put on a charitable front while scoring a primetime ESPN broadcast.

5. Finally, teams should have to report their players only meetings to the NFL so that the league can keep official statistics on how well players perform after having these meetings. Wouldn’t that be interesting? (Or at least kind of interesting?)

Said Torbor: "As far as specifics, I'd rather keep it between us. I think some things don't need to be put on display. It kind of loses its meaning once it goes from something that was heartfelt to something that was for publicity. And I don't want it to turn into that. But I will say it was something that I felt I'm one of the older guys here, and for the first time in my career we don't have those. Michael Strahans and Jason Taylors. I kind of woke up this morning and, whoa, I'm one of those guys now. I've been fortunate enough in my career to play with Hall of Fame guys and guys who have done things the right way. I'm not even talking about on the field. I'm talking about off the field. I've learned from them and just relayed some of those messages that I've learned over the years to them about just being a professional. Coming to work every day and not taking this for granted. Everybody thinks they'll play 10 years in this league coming out of college and it just doesn't work that way. You never know what day is gonna be your last. ... So having a young team I thought that was important."

Said RB Fred Jackson: "We did have a team meeting where it was just players only. We kinda talked amongst ourselves on what we needed to do to get things turned around. I don't think it's negative around here. We're not happy with where we are. But I think we're focused on trying to turn that around. ... Reggie Torbor was one of the main guys talking. He was just talking about being on that team with the Giants and how they had to turn that around. A lot of guys took a lot out of it. This being the bye week I think we'll get some good work in. ... It wasn't just a negative meeting. It was a positive meeting, too. ... We have to prepare even this week like it's a game week."

Said QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: "We had a couple of the older guys step up and get some stuff off their chest. I think it was good just to clear the air a little bit. We've got a bye week. We've got to refocus and re-evaluate where we are right now. ... It's one thing to listen to the coaches talk but to hear some of your peers talk and really from the heart. Guys that have been around it for a while, kind of pouring out their feelings and what they think it's gonna take to turn the thing around."

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