After it was reported earlier this week the NFL plans to cut the 2020 preseason down from four games to two, the NFL Players Association has voted to recommend not playing any preseason games this season according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
On Thursday night’s NFLPA call, the union’s board of reps voted unanimously to recommend that the NFL play no preseason games this year. It’s unclear whether the league, which has already decided to cut the preseason from four games to two, will consider the recommendation.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) July 3, 2020
In a previous report, the NFL was planning on cutting Week 1 and Week 4 of the preseason in 2020. In doing so, the Steelers were scheduled to play at Heinz Field against a New Orleans Saints and then to travel to New York to take on the Jets. The recommendation of the players is to scrap the preseason games altogether and focus on playing regular-season games.
While the preseason is of the utmost importance for the fringe players on the roster, 2020 seems to be a year which will be extremely difficult for players attempting to break into the league. With reports teams may be cutting down the number of players going to training camp, there will be an overall fewer pool of players who can show what they can provide to an NFL team.
Additionally, players are ultimately paid for their regular season games. Holding meaningless games with more players than in the regular season would increase risk without gaining a full game paycheck.
As to how training camp would work in preparation for the 2020 season, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network offered one possible camp schedule discussed by the NFLPA.
With the NFLPA still opposed to preseason games, one possible camp schedule the union has discussed:— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 3, 2020
3 days: medical/equipment
21 days: strength & conditioning
10 days: unpadded practice
14 days: practice (10 max/8 padded)
Then it’d be straight into Week 1.
The most important thing when it comes to preparing for the 2020 season is ultimately player safety. Whether it be preparation to lower the risk of injury or concerns over spreading COVID-19, the NFL and Players Association will have to balance all the risks.
Regardless of whether the NFL chooses to still play any of the preseason or to eliminate it entirely for 2020, every team should be facing the same situation and will have a level playing field entering Week 1.
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