NFL training camps are supposed to start in less than three weeks. With that in mind, here are some things I’m thinking about as summer rolls along.
So many questions ... so little time.
As the NFL prepares to try and begin the 2020 season with the July 28 opening of training camps, there seem to be more questions than answers about how this will work in the COVID-19 era.
Adam Schefter recently detailed what we know and what we don’t know about the 2020 season, and reading through that makes you realize there are a ton of areas where the league and the Player’s Association have yet to agree.
If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple.— Nate Solder (@soldernate) July 10, 2020
Money and safety are, of course, the two primary issues. Here is an Adrian Amos tweet Schefter used:
We all want to play football. We also have an obligation to our families .. family comes first so to say “ We taking some of your money and we don’t have the answers to whether you’re going to be safe” comes off as disrespectful to most .. it’s “take and take”.where is the give?— Adrian Amos (@_SmashAmos31) July 10, 2020
How will players be paid? How will the league and the players deal with lost revenue? Will opt outs be allowed, and how will those be dealt with financially? How many infections are too many for a team to continue practicing and playing? How will the testing program work? What will training camp roster sizes be? How big will the practice squad be? How will players who test positive for the virus be classified? Will there be a preseason, and how many games will it include if there is? Will players be fined if they violate health and safety protocols? Will fans be allowed to attend games? Is it fair if some teams can have at least a percentage of fans while other teams play in empty stadiums?
I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. I just know that the specter of the fight between players and owners to get a Major League Baseball season started is fresh in my mind. They made a mess that damaged yet again the sport’s standing.
Will the NFL be able to pull off something akin to a real NFL season? That’s a good question. I just hope a fight over money doesn’t damage their chances.
Above money, of course, health concerns must be first and foremost. And if it means shutting down or shortening the season, so be it.
As Andrew Brandt wrote in Sports Illustrated:
“This is reality. Unlike us, the virus doesn’t care about the NFL.”
No, the virus does not care about the NFL.
As Dr. Jill Weatherhead of the Baylor College of Medicine recently reminded, this is not just about the NFL. It’s about the communities these players will be in, something important to keep in mind since players won’t necessarily be in a “bubble” atmosphere.
“These are community members that are going to be interacting with other individuals, so it’s not just healthy athletes that are coming together to have sports. They are going back out into the community, they are traveling to other communities. It’s critical that the NFL understand the interactions that these players and staff and coaches, everybody who’s involved, their role in our greater transmission dynamics in our communities.” …
“It goes well beyond just the players and the coaches that these protocols are trying to keep safe, which are appreciated that they’re putting in that effort and it’s feasible from the professional standpoint because they have those resources available. But it goes beyond that and we have to start thinking about the bigger priorities, thinking about how this affects everybody and when do we want this to be over.”
We all want an NFL season. More importantly, though, we want our lives — and the lives of our loved ones — to go on.
That is just a little bit more important than football.
DeAndre Baker mess ... and Dave Gettleman
Pro athletes. Guns. Armed robbery. Bribery. Maybe extortion. Seemingly shady lawyers. An apparent coverup. A ‘he said-he said’ disagreement.
This whole DeAndre Baker-Quinton Dunbar case has everything. It should be a multi-part episode of ‘Chicago P.D.’ or ‘Law and Order.’
We’re now way beyond what Baker, the Giants cornerback, did or did not do on the night of May 13 in Miramar, Fla. Now, we’re into whether or not he participated in alleged victim payoffs. Or, did Baker and his lawyers set up Dunbar and his lawyers? If so, that’s probably something they shouldn’t have done, anyway. Not without police involvement.
What a mess!
I honestly don’t know who or what to believe at this point. The only thing I know is I can’t see how Baker can be a member of the Giants much longer.
When the Giants inevitably cut ties with the 22-year-old, the Baker saga is definitely going to be a stain on the Giants’ legacy of GM Dave Gettleman after he traded away two draft picks to move up and get Baker in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Let’s be real, though. Yes, there were pre-draft concerns about Baker’s work ethic and there was apparently a spirited debate among Giants’ decision-makers about whether or not to go all-in on Baker. Those who had concerns could have foreseen his rookie struggles, and perhaps the questions about how hard he studied his playbook. No one, however, could have foreseen Baker finding himself in this mess.
I will criticize the Baker move from a football perspective. In retrospect, it’s clearly one that did not need to be made.
The Giants moved from 37 to 30 to get Baker. Five cornerbacks went in the second round after the 37th pick, with Byron Murphy (33rd) and Rock Ya-Sin (34th) going before. The Giants clearly could have gotten a cornerback, maybe even Baker, by sitting tight and not surrendering the 132nd (fourth round) and 142nd (fifth round) picks.
That, in my view, is the basis upon which the Baker decision should be criticized. The Giants clearly could have used those extra picks to try and add useful players to a team that needed them.
School is still in session
Have you been going to Summer School with us the past couple of months? Joe Judge would be proud of the work our crack staff of teachers has done in recent weeks to help educate you on the incredibly complex game of NFL football. If you have missed out, school will be in session for a couple more weeks, so get cramming. Here is some of what you have missed:
- Summer School 2020: Creating pressure on punts
- Summer School 2020: The Air Raid Killer defense
- Summer School 2020: The Tite Front - what it is and how to beat it
- Summer School 2020, Cover 6: What this coverage is, and how offenses attack it
- Summer School 2020, the Bear Front: What it is, why it’s used, and how to beat it
- Summer School 2020: Cover 4 defense — what it is, and how to beat it
- Summer School 2020: Cover 3 Defense — what it is, and how to beat it
- Summer School 2020: Cover 2 defense — what it is, and how to beat it
- Summer School 2020: Strengths and weaknesses of a Cover 1 defense
- Summer School 2020: Glossary of defensive football terms
- Summer School 2020: A glossary of offensive terminology
Getting you ready for training camp
We are, of course, plowing ahead as we usually do in getting you ready for the expected opening of training camp.
We are continuing to profile the roster the Giants will bring to camp. We have also begun looking at position battles. A reminder also — don’t forge to to check out Emory Hunt’s position battle videos on our YouTube channel over the next couple of weeks. Here are the first two:
A question for PSL holders
Do you or your family hold a PSL for Giants games? We know that the Giants recently gave PSL owners the option of whether or not to purchase season tickets for 2020, allowing them to keep the PSL if they decide not to purchase this season.
If you own a PSL and are willing to share your decision, and your reasoning, send an e-mail to email@example.com. I’m curious to hear your stories. Why did you decide the way you did? How will you feel about attending — or missing — games?
If I receive enough e-mails I will post the best ones. I think it might be an insightful look into the minds of fans as we approach an unprecedented season.