After Labor Fight, NFL To Begin Preseason Play Melissa Block speaks with NPR sports correspondent Mike Pesca, about the start of the NFL's preseason. Now that the labor fight is over, teams are getting back to business — and players are getting ready to play. The first preseason games take place next week.
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After Labor Fight, NFL To Begin Preseason Play

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After Labor Fight, NFL To Begin Preseason Play

After Labor Fight, NFL To Begin Preseason Play

After Labor Fight, NFL To Begin Preseason Play

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Melissa Block speaks with NPR sports correspondent Mike Pesca, about the start of the NFL's preseason. Now that the labor fight is over, teams are getting back to business — and players are getting ready to play. The first preseason games take place next week.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

And NPR's Mike Pesca joins me now to talk about it. Hey, Mike.

MIKE PESCA: Hello.

BLOCK: Mike, it was the entire membership of player's union ratifying this collective bargaining agreement. Did the vote change anything?

PESCA: So a lot of teams had practice under the lights last night to finally get some of these new players in pads and on the field.

BLOCK: And let's talk about some of those new players. Which teams have been stocking up on some of this new talent?

PESCA: But the biggest team for free agent signings has been the Philadelphia Eagles. What a haul they have. They signed the most sought-after free agent, Nnamdi Asomugha. And then they got another cornerback, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie. They add guys like Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, the quarterback Vince Young, Ronnie Brown. I would say that if you took half of the free agents that Philadelphia signed and assigned them to another team, that other team would have had the second or third best free agent haul. That's how great the Philadelphia new players are.

BLOCK: What other teams, Mike, have beefed up their rosters in a big way?

PESCA: Matt Hasselbeck, who's a good quarterback but has always been injured, he's now in Tennessee. And one of the reasons that the Eagles got Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, or the main reason, is that they traded their quarterback, Kevin Kolb, who's a very promising player and has started few games. But that's just a potent offense that died last year because they had a horrible quarterback. So the Cardinals, just by getting someone decently competent, they immediately become at least an interesting offense to try to watch.

BLOCK: And the resolution of this labor dispute means the Green Bay Packers finally get to go to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory. How do the Packers look, and their opponent in last year's Super Bowl, the Steelers?

PESCA: And the Bears really didn't add too much. They have Roy Williams, who was once a promising wide receiver, but he really had such a couple terrible years in Dallas. Roy Williams once said that the balls thrown to him in Dallas were all wobbly and inaccurate but the balls thrown to other receivers seem to be much more accurate. That's how he explained his drop off in production. I think there are other more logical explanations, like perhaps Roy Williams has lost a step. So the Bears maybe aren't going to be as good, at least in terms of personnel, as they have been in years past.

BLOCK: OK. NPR's Mike Pesca, enjoy the season.

PESCA: I will. Thank you.

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