The NFL had been operating under the assumption that the preseason would go on as usual amidst the coronavirus pandemic, with no canceled games. That stance seems to have changed, or the NFL is at least exploring the option of canceling preseason games.
According to a report from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the NFL and NFLPA are talking about a shortened preseason schedule. While nothing is currently finalized or imminent according to Pelissero, the talks are centered around shortening the preseason to just two games.
What would this accomplish for the NFL? It would obviously allow for a longer acclimation period for players once they get back on the field and training. Pelissero also mentions that the extra time could be used for medical experts to finalize a plan for game-day testing protocols and procedures.
The NFL has already had a number of changes this offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most recently the league told teams they couldn’t leave their home facilities for training camp.
A shortened preseason would have some big implications for the Kansas City Chiefs. Andy Reid has a very strict schedule for his starters when it comes to preseason games. They actually use the preseason as a ramp-up period, with starters getting a quarter of play more with each consecutive preseason game. Then, of course, the final preseason game the starters get the game off. It serves as an opportunity for depth players to make their mark and separate themselves amongst the crowd.
Any changes to the number of preseason games mean that Reid would have to adopt a new strategy. Not only for how the team gets players accustomed to the rigors of the NFL game, but also how the players on the bottom half of the roster will be evaluated.
8 Chiefs free agents who played in 2019 remain unsigned