Under the direction of new strength and conditioning coach Brad Roll, the Cleveland Browns begin their voluntary offseason workouts at the Berea training facility on Monday morning.
Players will go through a focused set of workouts designed to get the body’s various components working together in one direction.
“The biggest thing you have to do is look at the symmetry of their body, an overall evaluation of their body mass, and then, configure what their lean muscle mass is to their fat pounds, look at their hydration levels, flexibility,” Roll said. “You can see from watching tape on gameday and get an idea for an overall fitness level.
“Then, you start trying to kind of get an idea in your mind of how you want to mold them into their optimal body weight, their optimal symmetry, seeing where their strengths are and seeing where their weaknesses are and trying to put them in a functional standpoint where everything is firing, all of their muscles, their tendons, their joints are firing together at the same time in whatever direction they’re going, vertical, horizontal, linear, non-linear and get them in a state where their fitness level puts them in a position to be as successful as they possibly can.”
Roll, who has spent 19 seasons of his 30-year career in the NFL, believes that a body in the correct shape leads to having a healthy mind.
“At this level, the games are won or lost on three or four critical plays,” Roll said. “If we can adjust that player to where he’s firing in the same direction, where all of his muscle groups are activating and mobilizing in the right direction, if we can get just one more inch of distance or length on a jump, on a step where he can make a tackle, make a catch, prevent someone from making a tackle, those are the little things on specific plays that make the difference from winning and losing on Sunday.
“That is what the main goal is with these players. The stronger they are physically, mentally, the more functional strength they have, the less likely they are to make a mental mistake on Sunday. We want to make them feel comfortable at being uncomfortable and not making a mental mistake.”
This will be Roll’s first offseason under the latest collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Association. The agreement has restrictions for what players are allowed to do with the coaches.
Workouts and classroom studies comprise the first portion of the 10-week offseason program.
“Everybody’s got to be held accountable, and there’s certain times of the year where we can take full control and there’s certain times of the year where the player has to be accountable for doing a lot of his training on his own,” Roll said. “That’s just what becoming a pro is. We have guidelines that we have to work with, and so, we have to come up with the most functional, the most comprehensive, the most well-rounded program that we can.
“Now, the players’ voice is heard much more. You have to embrace this and you have to make it work and keep trying to establish new ways to evaluate, new ways to create positive growth and change in each one of the players.”
In addition to creating positive growth and improvement in each of the players, Roll said they can “expect consistency” in training and preparation.
“They can expect direction,” Roll said. “They can expect looking at the entire body and understanding how the entire body works, to establish their strengths and have them know what their strengths are, but also, have them understand what their weaknesses are, and to have a plan to improve on areas they need to improve on.”