Dan Vitale unfazed by Patriots’ virtual offseason
Former Green Bay Packers fullback Dan Vitale, now with the New England Patriots, has more than new names and faces to learn this spring — he has to go through an entire offseason training camp conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Vitale, 26, hasn’t viewed the virtual offseason with the Patriots as a major challenge. He said on Thursday via NESN’s Doug Kyed,
“Relatively speaking, I would say as an older player, it’s pretty similar to what we’d be going through. We’re able to watch film and everything. We have our playbooks on our iPads and everything. So, we can look through. As an older player, you kind of know what the job requires, so you know how often you’ve got to be watching film and going through your plays on your own and everything. I would say the only difference is we obviously can’t get together on the field right now. But other than that, it’s been really similar. We get to hit a lot of details, which is great.
Vitale added that his years of experience, and with playing for numerous teams, has allowed him to perfect a routine for being prepared:
“It’s kind of a unique situation for me … I’ve jumped around the league a little bit, been in a lot of different rooms — tight end rooms, fullback, running backs rooms, whatever you might call it. I’ve been all over the place. I prepare the same way no matter what room I’m in. I try to learn every single role, every single job, so whenever my number gets called, I’m able to do everything that they ask me and more.”
Vitale, a former sixth-round selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2016 NFL Draft, spent two seasons with the Cleveland Browns after getting cut by the Bucs and, later, Buffalo Bills. Vitale then appeared in 20 games across two seasons with the Packers before signing a one-year deal with the defending AFC East division champion Patriots this spring.
It’s been an entirely new landscape for players, coaches and fans as they all adjust to no sports at all and now the gradual reopening of businesses and institutions, with sports returning over the horizon. In order to make sure the NFL can start on time for its 2020 season, staying at home and learning the playbook virtually, like Vitale’s current plans, may be the only way to get football back.