As NFL training camps begin amid the COVID-19 Virus, I start to question if we’ll be lucky enough to get a season as football fans. My first initial reaction in the month of June was that the preseason would be wiped away in order to put NFL teams in the healthiest and safest position to shoot for a season. This past weekend the NFL announced that there would be no preseason games played before the 2020 season. The announcement will have a significant impact around the league and most importantly even the playing field for all 32 NFL Franchises.
What to Expect
Even though preseason games are not taken seriously like a regular season game, it still allows teams to get a chance to see who can do what in between the lines. What about the 5th string cornerback looking to make the roster? How on earth can he prove he belongs on an NFL roster if he is unable to line up against any opponents? Final cuts will also be much more of a challenge this year for coaches across the league. Seeing players in camp scrimmaging against their own team can only do so much justice. Not only will it affect the bottom of the roster players trying to make the cut. It will also handicap the cut player being picked up by another team due to a strong preseason outing. There will simply be no game tape at all to go off of.
The biggest hit will be the quarterback competitions across the NFL. Preseason games against other teams more often than not decide who is best fit to be the Week 1 starter. In Chicago, Mitch Trubisky is competing against the former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles for the spot. Will Cam Newton win the job in New England? There is an extreme level of uncertainty heading into 2020 that makes this season almost impossible to predict the outcome. Who will be the team that makes their first playoff appearance in years? How will the rookie quarterbacks do without seeing a real NFL defense prior to their week one opener? My guess is as good as yours.
Experience will play a Role
Expect first year head coaches to struggle more than usual. Veteran players and coaches do have an extreme advantage when it comes to preparation because of experience. It all comes down to America getting the product we all love, professional football. The best news about this cancellation statement is that the NFL plans to do everything in their power to get fans football this fall. HBO is still planning on releasing Hard Knocks for both the LA Rams and LA Chargers to keep us entertained through the month of August. Other than those two teams, we truly won’t see competitive football until early September.
-Fred O’Brien (@FOBSportsNFL)