NEW ORLEANS -- A few thoughts from NFC West head coaches on what they would miss most this offseason during an extended NFL lockout:
Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals: "I miss the relationships. I miss seeing the players. I think that in-season, in training camp, there is always the fear of a job or the fear of not playing or you are dealing with stress preparing for a game. But when you get this time of year, there is no cut coming up. You get a chance to look at guys and you really get a chance to build relationships with players. That is a good time of year."
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks: "There are two really big things you lose. One is the opportunity to be dealing in free agency so that you can get your mind straight going into the draft. The other thing is the development of your players. They would normally be in the facility working out and we would be able to engage the process of helping them along. Imagine guys like Russell Okung and Earl Thomas could be watching film and visiting with the coaches and doing the things they would normally do and visiting with the other players. All of that process is not under way."
Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams: "We haven't really felt the effect of it yet. If it goes past the draft, that might be when we feel it most."
Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers: "Being around them, going through the locker room, having conversations with guys. That is what I am missing out on. Being in the locker room, seeing these guys. One conversation at a time, you know."
Owners and players are arguing over money, but Whisenhunt and Harbaugh hit on the human element, too. That should not be overlooked. For all the money players make during their careers, they often say they miss the camaraderie once they retire. That is lost during a lockout as well.