Saints players informed team will have no virtual offseason
Many NFL teams have adapted to having team facilities on total lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic by arranging virtual offseason activities as a less desirable alternative to traditional OTAs, minicamps and the like. According to a new report, the New Orleans Saints will not be one of those teams.
Diana Russini of ESPN has heard that Saints players have been told “no virtual workouts, no online meetings, no workouts at the facility, even if its allowed. What’s more, they were told to “[s]how up in July for training camp in the best shape of your life.”
Instead of participating in a virtual offseason program, players have been instructed to “take care of your families, your health, and be ready this summer.”
Saints head coach Sean Payton is said to have been the one who informed the players of the teams’ plans Wednesday morning in a widely attended Zoom meeting. There is not expected to be any changes to the approach, either, even if the NFL were to alter its current lockdown protocol.
According to Saints players I talked to, Head Coach Sean Payton told them this morning they are not having a team-lead offseason program even if rules change. Payton held a zoom meeting with over 80 players a short while ago and said “We are not having an offseason program."— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) April 22, 2020
There has been speculation within NFL circles how impactful and beneficial a virtual offseason program would even be for teams. That being said, to completely abandon any semblance of an established, cohesive plan to deal with the unprecedented circumstances presented by the COVID-19 outbreak is certainly an interesting decision.
That’s not to say that Payton and the rest of the Saints coaching staff won’t be in contact with players, of course. Nor does that mean Saints players won’t be doing their level best to be in the best shape possible if and when training camps open at some point.
After all, the Saints reported message to players about just that was spelled out quite clearly.