Last year, every NFL team had to switch wholesale to a virtual offseason program. There was a lot of uncertainty associated with that, and at the time we had no idea what kind of impact it would have to move rookie minicamp, organized team activities, and minicamp. As it turned out, teams navigated that just fine, though the lack of experience for rookies seemingly hurt some players.
In light of that, the NFL appears poised to announce some changes to the league’s offseason schedule, and not a moment too soon. Teams have to be eager to learn what exactly they’re going to do in the months ahead, given that the draft is a month away and some activities begin in May, and to our knowledge the league hasn’t offered up much in the way of guidance. It seems like a safe bet it won’t be entirely virtual—the NFL can’t stand to have so little attention beamed its way for a couple of months in a row—but it also may not be as robust as it was in the past.
Here’s what you should expect to learn over the next couple of days:
- What this year’s offseason is going to look like, and whether the NFL will choose to incorporate more virtual elements going forward or not. Again, rookies could probably benefit from more preparation, but veterans
- Confirmation that we have a 17 game season with a 3 game preseason for 2021 and beyond. I don’t think the players are exactly thrilled—it’s an extra regular season game with no additional bye—but this one is all but formally done.
- Roughing the passer reviews may soon be a thing. We all remember the year the league flirted with the pass interference reviews thanks to Sean Payton’s months-long temper tantrum, and that did not go well. I do hope the league learns from that fiasco if they’re going to enact this, but it is worth noting that roughing the pass has become one of the NFL’s worst calls, with questionable penalties on feather-soft, textbook tackles of quarterbacks leading to a lot of sustained drives. If the league can actually do it right this time, I’m in.
There’s likely to be more news from there, but I’ll be interested to get official word on all three of the items above. I’d expect we’ll know by Wednesday evening.