Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Detroit Lions (and every other NFL team) had their traditional formal offseason program held entirely in virtual format.
And if the recent remarks from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are any indication, that may become standard practice moving forward.
“Virtual’s going to be part of our life for the long term,” Goodell said during his state-of-the-league speech ahead of Super Bowl 55. “I think we’ve learned and coaches learned and players learned, that it was actually a very positive way to install the offenses and to work in the offseason, so I think we’ll see more of that for sure.”
In addition to offseason programs, the 2020 NFL Draft was entirely in virtual format, as well as shutting down in-person workouts. However, Goodell still sees the need for practices, training camp and exhibition play.
“The veterans may not need that as much (as rookies), so those are the types of things I think we’ll balance as we come into the offseason and I’m sure we’ll come up with solutions to that,” Goodell continued.
Going forward, safety will be the name of the game and will determine every move by the League.
“One of the things that I think I have learned and I think all of us have learned is try not to project too far in advance because it’s difficult to do,” Goodell said. “I think (the approach we take) with everything we do is wait as long as you possibly can, be prepared for the uncertainty and find solutions, work the problem. And that’s what we’ve done. I don’t know when normal is going to occur again, and I don’t know if normal ever will again. I don’t know if anybody here can do that. I know this: We have learned to operate in a very difficult environment, we have found solutions and we’ll do it again.”
The Lions could be especially affected by additional virtual offseason programs, considering their coaching staff received a major overhaul this offseason.
– – Quotes via Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press Link – –