INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indianapolis Colts’ offseason workout program will begin as planned. Players should cue Monday in their DayMinder app.
But while the team’s offseason work will commence on the anticipated date, it will do so remotely. Consider it the NFL’s latest adjustment to the coronavirus pandemic.
With team facilities indefinitely off limits to personnel in accordance with federal and state regulations, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to a modified offseason program that begins Monday.
“Both our Executive Committee and Board of Player Reps have voted unanimously to approve a virtual off-season program up until the start of training camp,’’ the NFLPA said in a statement. “We will be sending out all the details and setting up calls with players and agents for how this will work shortly.’’
The virtual program, which is voluntary, consists of three weeks of classroom work and remotely-instructed workouts; April 20-May 15. Teams are allowed to send players workout equipment and monitoring devices at a maximum cost of $1,500 per player. Also, a player who participates in his team’s offseason program will receive his normal per-diem payment ($235 per day).
It’s possible the offseason program will have to continue in a virtual mode after May 15, unless the COVID-19 restrictions have been eased. All offseason work ends June 26, including a team’s mandatory three-day minicamp.
If any team’s facility remains closed because of COVID-19 restrictions in its geographical area, all 32 facilities remain closed.
The Colts have been planning for various scenarios, including the one that’s being implemented.
Chris Ballard and Frank Reich have discussed how best to handle a “virtual offseason.’’ They’ve routinely shared Zoom video sessions leading up to the April 23-25 draft, as have Reich, his coordinators and the assistant coaches.
Beginning Monday, Reich is allowed to address the entire team, and that will be followed by offensive/defensive sessions led by coordinators Nick Sirianni and Matt Eberflus and positional meetings.
The overriding objective: how best to gain a competitive edge during a unique offseason.
“As a coaching staff, we’re getting ready to go,’’ Reich said recently. “I’m in a Zoom meeting every day. Chris and his staff have a Zoom meeting every day talking about the draft, evaluating players. We’re getting everything ready, planning everything out so when they give us the green light to start contacting players . . . we’re getting ready like April 20th is the go-date.’’
Dealing with players remotely, he added, “is just another way for us to learn how to get better and for us to learn how to excel.
“We’re working through that. What does that look like? How good can we get at Zoom and at presenting like this? I’ve already been thinking and constructing team meetings via Zoom like this if and when it comes to that point that we are allowed to do this.
“That’s the thing about this technology. You’ve got to use it (and) you’ve got to be good at it. That’s what I’ve said to the staff: ‘Guys, hey, you’ve got to become expects at this stuff. You need to learn every little nuance of it and find every creative way to help guys get better.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.