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Controlled chaos

Posted Apr 5, 2012

Jaguars strength coach Tom Myslinski getting to know players as 2012 off-season program begins

His first goal is to control the chaos, but beyond that, Tom Myslinski said he can see the big picture.

As that picture comes into focus, Myslinski said he is optimistic about what he has seen in first days of what he considers a critical time in his new role as the Jaguars’ strength and conditioning coach.

Does he know all the players’ strengths and weaknesses?

Does he know tendencies?

Does he even know all of their names?

In many cases, Myslinksi said the answer is no, but he said while the first days working with any group of players is by its nature chaotic, he said it’s also easy to tell the Jaguars’ players are a professional, focused group. And he said that’s an important start.

“Really, what a joy they are to work with,” Myslinski said this week, the first of the Jaguars’ 2012 off-season program.

“They’re great guys. They’re eager to learn. It’s great. It’s their job, and they know it.”

The Jaguars, like the six other NFL teams with new head coaches, officially began the 2012 off-season program Monday. While position coaches and coordinators may not work with players on the field, they can begin meeting with players in a classroom setting, something that began on Wednesday around EverBank Field.

The other critical element this week?

The beginning of the voluntary off-season conditioning program, which means the first time Myslinski and the team’s new strength staff can begin working extensively with players.

“Right now, there’s a lot of teaching going on from Milo (Myslinski),” Jaguars wide receiver Mike Thomas said. “I think he’s going to be great for us and what we want to do.”

Myslinski, who spent nine seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman, was the Cleveland Browns’ strength and conditioning coach for three seasons, and played guard on the Jaguars’ 1995 expansion team.

“He’s a great coach,” Jaguars defensive tackle Tyson Alualu said. “Just being that he’s a players’ coach and he’s been through it, I think he has a lot to bring as far as how ready we need to be by the time the season starts.  He’s been through it all and for him to be our strength and conditioning coach, it’s definitely a plus for us.”

Under the rules of the CBA, Myslinski and the strength and conditioning coaches could begin putting players through conditioning four days a week beginning Monday. Until Monday, the strength staff was under the same restrictions as all coaches, meaning they could not coach players.

Because Myslinski is in his first season, the first two weeks are primarily about getting to know the Jaguars’ players, and installing the new program.

“The first two weeks are really controlled chaos,” Myslinski said. “I have to learn the players, learn if they have limitations – what they can and cannot do. Technique is an ongoing process and you have to constantly correct and modify. It’s controlled chaos for a couple of weeks.

“I have to have patience and they have to have patience with me.”

Myslinski said the first two weeks are more about testing and observation than anything else – that, and teaching players specifics regarding conditioning and lifting techniques.

“This just gives you a chance to clean up the chaos,” Myslinski said. “The chaos is just from the staff not knowing anybody and them not knowing us. That’s what these two weeks are for. We have to learn where their thresholds are, what they’re capable of doing.”

While Myslinksi said he has met many of the players who have been rehabilitating and working out at the facility in February and March, he said there are many players he is meeting for the first time this week.

“I’m still trying to learn names,” he said. “I kind of know what their bodies look like as much I know what their faces look like, so I’m trying to assimilate all of a sudden.”

Myslinski said while he has a strength and conditioning program based on maximizing a balanced combination of fitness and strength, he said his ideal is to adapt to each player as needed.

“I allow a lot of accommodations because I know individuals are different,” he said. “I’m willing to work with them. I’ve told them my No. 1 goal is to allow them to be the best player they can be. If that’s accomplished, the Jaguars are going to win football games.”

Whereas in past seasons, strength coaches could work with players on a more hands-on basis in February and March, the new CBA essentially limits strength coaches to nine weeks of hands-on, out-of-season work. Considering those restrictions, Myslinski was asked what he would consider success when the off-season program ends in mid-June.

“Proficiency,” he said. “Training is a long-term process, and to me, I think it’s most important to have your guys the fittest when it matters most – and to me, that’s late in the season. I really see this as the first week of a long schedule.”

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