Covid-19: Training Camp, Opt-Outs & Covid-19 Reserve - What Is It? And How Does It Work?
The Sports World has been shaken this year, and chances are, things won't be 'Back to Normal' for some time. Sports across the world shut down in March and most of us then spent nearly 2 months not knowing what to do with ourselves. Some of us remembered we have a family, partners and/or children, and got to know them again given that we haven't seen them since August '19, some of us decided to play raindrop racing on windows just to get some exciting action in. Whatever it was we did - we're hopefully not very far away from reaping our rewards for lasting this long without a snap.
As fans of the NFL, it's tough going 6 months without a sport that you love anyway, but throughout this pandemic, I'd say it's been slightly easier on us as they're months that Football wouldn't be taking place anyway. However, as soccer fans or fans of other sports, we've had to miss out. Thankfully, sports like Soccer, Baseball, Basketball & Hockey are coming back and games are taking place.
Exciting news from across the league is that Training Camp has started. Here's some of the Lions updates coming out of Training Camp.
Rosters: on 16th August teams must have an 80-man roster. Until then, each team has 2 options. Only 80 players are allowed in the building at any one time, so teams can keep the usual 90-man roster, split into 2 separate training squads, or immediately drop to an 80-man roster without the need for splitting the team. The Lions have opted to keep the 90-man roster and split the team.
Important Dates for Training Camp (According to the NFLPA document - from ESPN):
July 28-31: PCR testing and virtual meetings
Day 1: COVID testing
Day 2: COVID testing
Day 3: No testing
Day 4: COVID testing
Aug. 1-2: Physicals and equipment
Aug. 3-11: Acclimatization period
Sixty minutes in weight room and 60 minutes of on-field conditioning
Total strength and conditioning (small groups under 15), duration capped at 120 minutes
No conditioning tests during this period
Just strength and conditioning coaches (for strength and conditioning)
On-field strength and conditioning subject to Phase 1 rules (quarterbacks, receivers, kickers, punters and long-snappers permitted to use footballs)
In addition to strength and conditioning, walk-throughs permitted up to 60 minutes on each of the first four days and up to 75 minutes on each of final four days
Aug. 8 will be off day
Aug. 12-16: Gradual ramp-up period
Subject to maximum of 3.5 hours on-field daily time limits (Article 23, Section 7(b))
First practice starts at 90 minutes, with maximum 15 minutes daily increase (up to a daily maximum of 120 minutes)
Remainder of daily 3.5-hour on-field time limit applied to walk-through
Aug. 12 and 13 will be Phase 2 activities; helmets and approved protective shirts permitted
Aug. 14 and Aug. 16: Non-Padded practice days (Article 23, Section 7(b)(i)) (e.g., no live contact, all customary practice activities); helmets, spiders and shells permitted
Aug. 15: Off day
Aug. 17-Sept. 6: Contact integration period
Padded practices subject to Article 23, Section 7(c) rules
Duration starts at 90 minutes with 15-minute daily increases (as recommended by JTF)
No increase or decrease in duration following an off day.
Daily time limits dictated by CBA (Article 23, Section 7(c) Conduct of Practices)
Maximum of 14 padded practices during the contact integration period
Following the first mandatory day off on Aug. 8, all players must receive one day off every seven days.
Clubs that play on Monday night of Week 1 must receive seven total days off.
Clubs that play on Sunday and Thursday of Week 1 must receive six total days off.
Rookies have two additional off days in Phase 2, two additional days in non-padded and one additional off day. Rookies cannot progress to contact integration until Aug. 17.
Sept. 7: Regular-season practice week
Players who are directed to report early (before the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players) will progress to the gradual ramp-up period immediately following their completion of their respective eight-day acclimatization period. However, no player shall begin padded practices before Aug. 17 (except that Kansas City and Houston may begin padded practices on Aug. 14).
Latest Lions News in Training Camp (At the time of writing 2nd August 2020):
Fans will be able to watch Training Camp Virtually this year and partake in a Virtual Training Camp experience. SOURCE: Official Detroit Lions site
Matt Turner has already covered what Opt-outs are and how they work in his previous blog. At the point of writing (2nd August) players have 1 more day to opt-out before the window is shut for good. There are 2 options for opting-out - voluntary & high-risk.
Lions Opt-outs: DT John Atkins (Unspecified)
Related news: In a chat with former Lions Safety Glover Quin, Lions Safety Tracy Walker. He said he wouldn't be opting-out of the season as he 'Misses football too much', and it would be 'up to the NFL to cancel the whole season in order to stop him from playing'.
On a personal note, I believe that this is an incredibly underrated addition to the NFLs Covid-19 response. Players will be added to the Covid reserve if they come into contact with another person that has tested positive, if they display symptoms or test positive themselves. In order to even enter the building, players must take 3 tests that comeback positive. It's unclear just how long a player should stay on the Covid-19 reserve list, however upon return, 2 consecutive tests must come back negative within 72 hours. Players who are on the list are still active members of the team. They will take part in meetings & other activities virtually.
Lions' Reserve/Covid-19 List (2nd August): QB Matthew Stafford, WR Kenny Golladay, TE T.J. Hockenson, TE Isaac Nauta, CB Amani Oruwariye, CB Justin Coleman, S Jalen Elliot, P Arryn Siposs
Public Opinion: We all wish each player on the Covid-19 reserve & opt-out list (not just for the Lions - but league wide too) the best in theirs and their families health and safety. The news that starting QB Matthew Stafford was placed on the Reserve list, fans across the world have been increasingly worried that he will choose to opt-out before the deadline - given Kelly Stafford's health complications over the past 2 years and the recent birth of their 4th child.
How are you all feeling about the upcoming season? Are you excited? Nervous? Optimistic? You can be assured that we at Roar of the Lions UK are currently either at work, home or out but we're definitely drinking that Blue Kool Aid!!!
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This article was written by Aaron Fletcher. Follow Aaron on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/aaronthemanc