The NFL had nearly five months to come up with a safe plan for the upcoming season and with just a week left before players arrive at their team facilities, there are still some uncertainties.
Schefter tweeted that owners will “try to finalize health and safety measures, financial arrangements, and reducing or eliminating preseason games, per league sources.”
NFL and owners now will be conducting a league meeting at noon ET today as they try to finalize health and safety measures, financial arrangements, and reducing or eliminating preseason games, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 20, 2020
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Owners, Coaches, & Players Don’t Agree on Preseason
One of the issues which will come to a conclusion is preseason. Players don’t want to play any preseason games.
So far, owners have reduced it to teams playing two preseason games or even just one. At this point, it would be meaningless to play just one especially without fans in the picture.
A season without preseason games actually comes down to a bigger problem than you think. Rookies with an emphasis on undrafted free agents, won’t be able to show off their talent in order to land a spot on the roster. Coaches and players will have to rely on what they see in training camp. Coaches find this to be a huge problem, but a majority of the players would rather not risk their health to impress the team?
Owners Will Finalize Saftey Protocols
Owners and players haven’t had the best communicating skills throughout this entire process or lack of one. Like Schefter had said, the owners will hopefully finalize safety protocols and financial arrangements.
A longer training camp is also in question due to the fact that players haven’t been able to get proper team workouts and practices due to quarantine.
The Falcons organization have taken the necessary steps for their own player and staff returns. Some protocols have included rearranging their weight rooms so their are fewer machines and more distance, gone away with cafeteria seating, and have begun drive-through testing.
Players will need to test negative twice in order to enter the facility, per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure.
Testing Could Be the Main Problem
While testing is a necessity for a safe return, NBC Sports analyst Peter King brought up the problems outlining testing.
The biggest concern is that testing results could take up to 24 hours and then quarantine takes two weeks minimum, plus another test.
“If the center tests positive on a Friday, and there’s a quarantine period for all of his close contacts … well, if I just came from practice where I’ve been in a huddle with all my offensive teammates, been doing individual drills with all my linemen, then blocking the defensive linemen and linebackers all afternoon, aren’t we talking about 35 guys being close contacts with me?” Cleveland Browns center and NFLPA president J.C. Tretter said, according to King. “And if they’re all in quarantine for the next couple days, what does Sunday’s game look like? You don’t have enough bodies to put on the field to play.”
This season is doable, but it will be tricky.