There was a lot made about not having an offseason for many of the Cardinals last season because of the lockout. Then there is linebacker O’Brien Schofield, who is going into his third season without yet having had an offseason of work. The odd confluence of events — Schofield ripping up his knee in January before the 2010 draft, which cost him that summer, and then the aforementioned work stoppage — sure would seem to have dealt him a blow.
This isn’t about excuses for Schofield. The college defensive end had to watch Sam Acho make the same adjustment without offseason work. But there is reason to think at least one of those offseasons could have made a big difference. Schofield had 4.5 sacks and 29 tackles in a role that still had him playing much fewer snaps than veteran Clark Haggans.
“From a standpoint of seriously working on technique, actually on the field and doing football stuff, that’s where I haven’t had a chance to improve,” Schofield said.
Schofield only got a couple of weeks of practice in 2010 before he was used around midseason, thrust into defensive work late. This past season, Schofield had his bumpy times in training camp. The Cards were busy learning the defense at that point. The time to work on technique and fundamentals is the summer.
“It didn’t dawn on me until the season when we were working scout (team),” Schofield said. “That’s when you want to work on it but at the same time you want to go through it with your coach. Then you know exactly what he wants.”
Schofield wasn’t complaining (I was talking to him about another story and brought up the subject that he had never had an offseason). He’s been getting treatment for a bad left shoulder that he first hurt in the Green Bay preseason game but kept to himself as he tried to find his place on defense. NFL teams will have less time for offseason work this year because of the new rules of the collective bargaining agreement — the conditioning program will start in mid-April instead of late-March and on-the-field work has been reduced from 14 to 10 organized team activities, plus a minicamp — but anything is better than the nothing Schofield has had.
“I am very excited to get better,” Schofield said. “Last year was about the expectations and I’m not sure my expectations were as high as everyone else’s. I feel like the way I am learning the defense … I’m going to come back next year and be ready. Next year is my year to put everything together.”
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