It’s unclear when players can return while there are just about three weeks left in the offseason program. All teams have been holding the offseason program virtually.
Commissioner Goodell sent this memo to teams today about reopening their facilities: pic.twitter.com/037uKybDNV
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 15, 2020
“This first phase of reopening is an important step in demonstrating our ability to operate safely and effectively, even in the current environment,” Goodell wrote in the memo. “After we implement this first phase, and as more states and localities enact policies that allow more club facilities to reopen, I expect that additional staff, likely including coaching staff, will be allowed to return to club facilities in a relatively short time.”
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The NFL is trying it’s best to get back to normal, but there are still precautions put in place. Falcons’ reporter Matt Tabeek laid out the key takeaways from Goodell’s memo.
- No more than 50 percent of non-player staff will be allowed back into facilities and that number cannot exceed 75 people.
- No members of the coaching staff will be permitted in the building.
- No players will be permitted in the building except those currently undergoing medical treatment or rehabilitation.
- If a strength and conditioning coach is currently participating in the player’s rehab, he may continue that work in the facility.
A Virtual Offseason?
Nobody was prepared for the coronavirus outbreak to hit so when it did, everybody was hesitant with the unknown including head coach Dan Quinn. Quinn provided details to the local media earlier this week on how the offseason has worked so far.
“I gotta be honest, when we first talked about a virtual program, I was definitely hesitant at first. Like, how the hell am I going to do this? I found there can be some great additions to what we’re doing.”
However, the Falcons made the virtual program work despite their limitations.
The Perks of Virtual Camp
While Quinn was unsure of how virtual camp would turn out, he found that there were plenty of upsides to it. Players were able to get more one-on-one with coaches that they never got before.
“One of those is a customized program for a player. I had a great conversation with Jake Matthews and he felt the same, Quinn said. When we first sent out our stuff he was like ‘Microsoft team, what does this mean?’ And then when we found almost the specifics to you and getting better in your program, that customized program really helped.
“So we had one-on-one meetings. Then we had one on and some. Let’s use Jake, for instance, we had a one-on-one with just him and then the offensive tackles. Then some with him, the tackles and tight ends together. Then him with just the line. Then I do a team meeting just once a week to set our intention for the week and where we’re going and what we’re doing.”
The Falcons also had some previous players as speakers talk to the players virtually which they probably wouldn’t have found time to do if it would have been a regular offseason.
“Secondly, what I like and what we probably couldn’t have done if this hadn’t come up is some of the guests we’ve had on. I think it really speaks to the brotherhood of the NFL. There have been some remarkable visits on Insta, Skype, and preparation with some of the players. That to me has been the remarkable part of the brotherhood.”
Rookies & Veterans
Coach Quinn has also found a way to split up the rookies and veterans just as they would if things were normal.
“So we’ve had three weeks that we’ve met with the veterans. After that, this past weekend we actually had our rookie minicamp. That was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
“This week will be a week totally devoted to the rookies. The veterans have off this week from the virtual program. So, we have a rookie week to help them kind of get them up to speed. ”
Beginning May 18, everyone will be together as one group, virtually.