#parent | #kids | Five NFL Coaches Debrief Their Virtual Offseason Programs

The unusual nature of 2020 NFL offseason led to this scene: The first overall pick barking signals into a computer screen in his parents’ basement in southeast Ohio, more than 100 miles away from the closest pro football team, the team this particular quarterback happens to play for now.

For this part of the virtual offseason, over the last few weeks, Bengals coach Zac Taylor wanted to make it feel real for Joe Burrow, even if it couldn’t really be.

“We made the quarterbacks stand up,” Taylor said, laughing. “So Joe’s probably in his parents’ basement, standing up, yelling, while his mom’s upstairs making lunch. It was good. They took ownership of it. And I told them, we’re not trying to act like we’re in church here, we need to replicate these reps we’re missing on the field, so speak up and be loud and let everybody hear you. And our guys did a good job of that.”

The 2020 offseason also meant team officials studying the attention spans and screen habits of millennials and Generation Z. And teams having offseason speaker series taking up time that would normally be swallowed up by learning line splits and route combinations. And coaches taking on new roles in family relocations.

And before anyone could get started on any of that, for the NFL’s 32 teams, the 2020 offseason was about making sure your Wi-Fi connection was solid.

This has been a strange year for everyone in America and, truth be told, of all the major U.S. sports leagues, the NFL has probably been least effected by its events. When its 2019 season wrapped up, COVID-19 was still seen by many as another country’s problem, and we still have close to three months left before the 2020 season starts. In that regard, the NFL has been pretty lucky.

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