As the COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented challenges around the world, the NFL is still figuring out how to stage a season. And while the players and owners continue negotiating a plan that will enable teams to properly prepare for the regular season, it appears that we could see the reduction or total elimination of preseason games. Without a full slate of exhibitions to prepare for the season, teams would have to adjust to a new way of life when it comes to the 2020 campaign. Don’t forget: Teams weren’t able to run their normal offseason programs, so everyone’s already way behind the eight ball.
I talked about all of this to a few folks in and around the league. Here are five ways that an abbreviated/aborted preseason could impact players, coaches and scouts:
1) Veterans will have significant advantages in roster battles.
The lack of a standard preseason will prompt some coaches to rely on familiar faces when the regular season kicks off. Veterans will jump to the front of the line due to their knowledge and experience. Journeymen, in particular, should be able to parlay their expertise into contributing roles. In critical moments, coaches prefer trustworthy players with the capacity to execute their assignments under pressure. Veterans not only have the experience to make plays in those situations, but coaches are well aware of their players’ resumes — and this matters when making decisions on the roster, depth chart and rotation.