The Indianapolis Colts are coming off arguably one of the most exciting free agency periods in franchise history.
There will be many new players on the roster, and more are coming by way of the NFL Draft starting on April 23, 2020.
A “normal” preseason schedule runs something like this:
April – Voluntary offseason workouts
Mid-May through mid-June – OTAs (Organized Team Activity) and mandatory mini-camp practices
Mid-July through late-July – Training camp
Early-August – Hall of Fame game (1st preseason game)
The April schedule is already suffering as offseason workouts have been pushed back.
Drastic changes have been implemented just to keep the NFL Draft on schedule.
This year, it will completely virtual.
2020 Virtual Draft details:
— Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce the picks from his house in Westchester, NY (as @peter_king said).
— IT departments have completed their work, with cameras installed in the homes of all GMs and coaches. That’ll be on air and for compliance.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 13, 2020
It is not unrealistic to think that the remainder of the offseason schedule could also be delayed.
No one from the NFL has acknowledged the possibility of a significant delay; however, a lot of entities would have to agree it is safe to proceed.
And that process may not be smooth sailing in California or other states.
Smackdown: asked about the NFL's announced intention to start its season on schedule in early Sept., @GavinNewsom responds: "I'm not anticipating that happening in this state." #COVID_19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/ggGp1BhgJT
— voxterra (@voxterra) April 4, 2020
What are the impact for the Colts if further delays occur?
While not everyone on the team may be affected, players in specific situations certainly will.
Veteran Players on New Teams
Yes, the defense is stacked with new players, but the key veteran to consider is Philip Rivers.
He spent his entire career with the Chargers so there are new players, plays, and processes to learn.
Plus he needs time throwing to the WRs, taking snaps from the center, and handing off to the RBs to develop chemistry.
One small comfort for Colts fans and Rivers is that he worked with both HC Frank Reich and OC Nick Sirianni when both were on the San Diego Chargers coaching staff from 2013-2015 so he has some familiarity with them.
Most of the rookies are wrapping up their college lives around the time they are drafted.
They need developmental time to learn how to be an NFL player.
That is accomplished by being around veteran players and NFL coaches.
While they can work virtually with their new teams, nothing replaces the time spent together building their identities as NFL players.
WR Parris Campbell is coming off an injury-shortened season after suffering a broken foot on December 9, 2019.
Players coming off injuries are eager to begin workouts so the can get their bodies acclimated again to the physicality of the game.
Free Agents “On the Fringe”
Unsigned free agents who the Colts may want their medical personnel to evaluate could be affected.
These free agent signings could be delayed indefinitely thus making it difficult for coaching staffs to complete their training camp rosters.
Can Private Workouts Help During a Delay?
Many believe that players can utilize a delay by working out on their own or with their trainers.
While this is true to an extent, it is preferred for them to work out as a team under the supervision of NFL trainers.
Like it or not, private workouts can lead to injuries which would make a bad situation even worse.
The only comfort for the Colts is that they are not the only team dealing with these issues.
Every team in the NFL will have the same problems.
Coaching, player talent, and luck may be factors as teams gel together in the midst of a delayed and disrupted offseason that will most certainly affect each NFL team.