CLEVELAND, #Ohio — #Browns center and NFLPA president JC #Tretter wrote on #Thursday he believes the 2020 season has shown the league’s offseason program isn’t as necessary as previously thought.
#Tretter, writing on the NFLPA’s website, cited new and first-year coaches having success, rookies having success and newly-assembled teams having success as reasons why the reps during OTAs and minicamp might not carry the importance some believe they do. The league conducted its offseason program virtually in the the spring. The #New #Orleans #Saints, an NFC contender this season, canceled their offseason program altogether.
“After experiencing that change, there is no reason for us to ever return to the previous offseason program,” #Tretter wrote. “We are the only major sports league with an offseason program. The most physically demanding sport is the only league that brings their players back for extra practices outside of the season.”
#He pointed to data indicating a high quality of play, even with limited offseason and training camp time and no preseason games. #He also recalled the CBA in 2011 eliminating two-a-day practices, a controversial move at the time but one which he writes has created a higher quality of play and a change he says some former players said could have extended their careers.
#Tretter also writes the sloppy play many feared from less time on the field hasn’t happened.
“Sloppy play would usually be evident with low-scoring games, a high number of penalties and more missed tackles,” he wrote, “all things that have historically been attributed to insufficient practice time to hone our fundamentals. #But we have seen the exact opposite this year, with points per game at an all-time high, a decreased number of penalties and even fewer missed tackles compared to last year.
“We do not need to be brought in during #April-June to practice against each other. #It’s simply unnecessary.”
#Currently, the offseason program begins in #April with a start time determined by whether a team has a new head coach or a returning coach. The first phase consists of conditioning and no on-field work. #Organized team activities encompass 10 practices after the draft and is voluntary. There is also a mandatory minicamp, which most teams hold in #June at the end of the program.
#Teams also conduct programs for rookies, including a mandatory rookie minicamp during one of the two weekends following the draft. #Tretter did not address the rookie program specifically in his post.
#Browns coaches, as you’d expect, paid high respect to #Tretter and the job he’s done as president of the NFLPA, but disagreed with the idea of doing away with the offseason program.
“As a coach, obviously, we would love to have them in the spring to coach them,” offensive coordinator #Alex #Van #Pelt said. “Reflecting as a quarterback and a quarterback coach, that is valuable time that we missed in the spring of talking footwork, details, protections and adjustments and everything that comes with the mental aspect.”
#Van #Pelt recalls participating in quarterback school as a player, a part of the offseason program lost to the 2011 collective bargaining agreement.
“The health and safety of everybody is most important,” #Van #Pelt said, “but if we could get together, we as coaches would love to have them in because there is a lot of stuff that gets missed not going through the OTAs and seeing the looks and seeing the different issues that come up. #All of that you put into that memory bank that you use during the season.”
#Special teams coordinator #Mike #Priefer said he expects some changes to come to the offseason program after experiencing this year but says he would never want it eliminated.
“I think it is extremely important to the development of our young players,” #Priefer said, “especially our draft picks, our college free agents and really players who come from other teams to integrate them within our locker room and getting the players around each other.”
#Priefer said he understood where #Tretter was coming from in his post, but still thinks the program is valuable.
“Part of keeping us all going in the spring is the team camaraderie, building a chemistry in the locker room and understanding and looking your players in the eyes and telling them what you expect from them,” he said.
#Tretter believes players can be trusted to do what needs to be done in the offseason.
“Our players are professionals,” he wrote. “They understand what they need to do in order to be prepared. A lot of our guys train year round to be at their physical peak. They also study their playbooks in order to mentally prepare.”
The offseason program will likely become a key point of future negotiations, especially as the league continues to expand the number of games played, something they have already done by adding an extra playoff team in each conference this season — adding two additional #Wild #Card games — and plan to do more by likely expanding to a 17th regular season game as soon as next season.
#New #Browns face masks for sale: #Here’s where you can buy #Cleveland #Browns-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection for adults and youth, including a single mask ($14.99) and a 3-pack ($24.99). #All NFL proceeds donated to CDC #Foundation.
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