Two Big Reasons to Hope the Lockout Ends This Week

Court is expected to rule Thursday on future of lockout.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    We're talking about practice.

    Football could be back very soon.

    The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to issue its ruling on the NFL's bid to continue the lockout indefinitely on Thursday. If they rule against the league there will be nothing left to stop the full resumption of football activities and that would be very good news indeed.

    Good people may have differing opinions about how justified NFL owners are to be making a naked cash grab, but everyone has to agree that this nonsense has gone on long enough. Surely two sides of people are capable of divvying up $9 billion in revenues to universal satisfaction without further impacting the 2011 season.

    The impacts on the season are already starting to be felt. The week after the draft is usually filled with the start of official off-season activities, mini-camps and workout programs that start setting the stage for what will happen during the coming year.

    Instead, we've got the Giants and Jets working out on opposite ends of the country in practices organized by their respective quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez has the Jets skill players out in Mission Viejo while the Giants receivers are in Hoboken with Eli Manning to work on their chemistry after months apart from one another.

    It's great that both of our local teams have leaders who get their teammates out to take part in voluntary workouts, but it merely underscores just what's being lost by the lack of any kind of organized approach to the offseason. Not all the players are taking part, injured players aren't able to take part and new wrinkles can't be worked into the scheme because no contact is allowed with coaches.

    And there are wrinkles that need to be ironed out. One of them is how the Jets are going to use LaDainian Tomlinson in the year to come.

    He said Tuesday that he's down with the idea of being the league's best third-down back while Shonn Greene takes care of the heavy lifting. It sounds like a wonderful idea, but there's not much point in assuming Greene can take on a role that he's never played without seeing him work his way through the entire off-season.

    The Giants have similar issues. There's Manning's inaccuracy, Hakeem Nicks' inconsistency and the health of Steve Smith, among others, to figure out before the team has a real idea about what kind of offense they are going to have next season. 

    These workouts serve an important purpose for both the players and the fans. For the players, it is all about staying ready for when the bell rings.

    For the rest of us, it is the surest sign yet that the time for everyone to act like grownups has come.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.