The coronavirus pandemic has made the NFL offseason virtual. The NFL Draft was all done virtually and the team’s OTAs have involved a lot of zoom calls.
Mini-camp being missed hurts every team, but for some teams, it’s going to cause even more issues. For teams with new quarterbacks or quarterback questions, everyone not being together is a problem.
Let’s look at the five teams hurt most by the missed mini-camps.
Honorable mention: Undrafted rookies
Although it’s not a team, undrafted free agents might be the most hurt without mini-camp this season. There have been plenty of players like Adam Thielen who are NFL standouts now that had to go through a rookie mini-camp to even get his shot.
There are plenty of players who could make NFL rosters that won’t even get a shot because they couldn’t prove themselves in mini-camp.
5. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins haven’t said what their plans are with Tua Tagovailoa for his rookie season, but if they had him in the building, they might have a better understanding already. The team can send out workouts to Tagovailoa, but if the strength coaches and training staff had their hands on him, it would be even better.
Outside of Tagovailoa, the Dolphins are a young team that could really use the extra instruction in person.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
Unlike the Dolphins, there are no quarterback questions for the Cincinnati Bengals, but having Joe Burrow in the building would be nice. The Bengals did have a little bit of a heads up with Burrow so he could learn the playbook early. That is an advantage, but Burrow still needs to get on the same page as his wideouts.
Burrow is going to be starting Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season, and with no veteran quarterbacks to help him adjust, there could be some major growing pains early.
3. Chicago Bears
Matt Nagy has made it clear that it’s going to be a fair quarterback battle between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, but it’s going to be a short battle no mini-camp:
“Mitch isn’t gonna be able to do it (in the spring), and Nick isn’t gonna be able to do it,” Nagy said via Albert Breer of Sports Ilustrated. “So it’s gonna be very important, in whatever time we’re given—it’s just a fact, there’s just not going to be as much time for that to naturally happen—for us to see it. It’ll all play itself out. And because there’s zero agendas in this thing, because there’s complete honesty, it’s very healthy. Credit to both of these guys, Mitch and Nick, they’re both really good people.”
Even though Nagy has said it’s going to be fair, could the lack of reps this spring actually give the advantage to Trubisky to keep the starting job?
2. New England Patriots
The Patriots offseason is looking a lot different this season, and that’s even without the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom Brady isn’t leading the offense anymore, and this spring would be a great time for Jarrett Stidham to really take control of the offense. He can try to be a leader through team meetings, but that isn’t the same as doing it on the field in the NFL.
Bill Belichick could always decide to go a different direction with the quarterback position, and this spring would be a perfect time to get a start on the evaluation.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are a veteran-led team, but Tom Brady needs time to get on the same page as Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
With Brady being a veteran, they aren’t hurt as bad as some other teams with rookie quarterbacks, but the Buccaneers could still be further along now than they are with no practice time.