PALM BEACH, Fla. – Covering an NFL Annual Meeting requires a good deal of patience.
The days consist of a lot of waiting around for things to happen, for people to become available to discuss the important business being transacted behind closed doors, and, sometimes, for equipment to function properly.
Monday was like that here at The Breakers resort complex.
The gathering of football's elite kicked off with numerous morning sessions – some specifically for coaches and football operations staffers, others for owners alone, still more with a mix of members from various subcommittees. If it all sounds very corporate-America-like … well, in many ways it is.
By midday, a 1 p.m. press conference with Commissioner Roger Goodell was postponed till 5, but a presser with Competition Committee Chair Rich McKay (President of the Atlanta Falcons) was held a couple hours earlier than expected.
McKay briefly reviewed all 14 proposed rule changes for the upcoming season, before taking reporters' questions about them. At the end, he was asked a question pertinent to the Patriots.
Last season, Josh McDaniels – New England's former offensive coordinator – was working in that capacity for the St. Louis Rams. When their season ended and the Patriots' continued into the playoffs, New England re-hired McDaniels as a coaching assistant and eventual successor to his own former successor in Foxborough, Bill O'Brien, who was leaving for the head coaching job at Penn State.
Some observers raised eyebrows (and concerns) about a coach changing teams during the same season, but McKay said that while the topic came up in discussions, no changes to the rules regarding assistant hirings was deemed necessary.
Later in the day, the league announced that 32 compensatory picks would be allotted to 15 clubs, based on the formula the NFL uses for the value of free agents lost by teams in the previous season versus those they signed. New England was among the 17 organizations that were awarded no compensatory picks.
When it came time for the Commish to speak, NFL Network's live cameras, microphones, and broadcast equipment was having significant audio trouble, which may have played a part in the additional 75-minute postponement Goodell's press conference, which finally got underway around 6:15 p.m. The vast majority of that address and subsequent Q&A focused on the New Orleans Saints bounty program and the fallout there from.
Tuesday morning got started very early – 7:15 to be precise, as all the AFC coaches convened in a Breakers ballroom for informal chats (all on the record) with the media in attendance. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick showed up fashionably late, but made up for the lost time by staying a few minutes past the designated hour. I'll post a full report on his remarks later this morning here on the blog.
No other media events are scheduled for today, but Brian Lowe from Patriots Today and I will be here throughout the day, just in case something important comes up.
We'll continue to be patient. It's just too bad we can't do our waiting around on the beach right outside the door.