In lieu of a preseason, or any on-field work throughout the Spring, this year’s training camp will essentially be a condensation of all of the on-field work that was already missed during the year. Obviously, it’s not enough to replace what was lost, but the training camp schedule is designed to slowly reintroduce players back to the physicality of the game.
For example, the Acclimatization period that is scheduled to begin after all players are completed with their series of Covid-19 tests and pass their physicals will be roughly equivalent to Phase One of the offseason program, which includes a limitation to only strength and conditioning coaches being present.
This period, which extends between August 3rd and the 11th, will primarily consist of time in the weight room and performing conditioning work. There will be a couple of walkthrough practices allowed during this time.
The second phase is being dubbed a gradual ramp-up period, a short bridge of just a few days between the 12th and the 16th. During this time, players will be permitted to be on the field for up to three and a half hours. To begin with, only 90 minutes may consist of practice (the rest is walkthroughs), but increases to 120 minutes.
The first two days of this ramp-up period is subject to Phase Two rules, with helmets coming on, but no pads. The final three days will allow for shells, but no full pads, and live contact will still not be permitted during this time.
It’s not until August 17th and then for the remainder of the training camp schedule that teams will be permitted to conduct padded practices. Though the duration of practice will remain the same—three and a half hours, with at least 90 minutes of walkthroughs—teams will be allowed to conduct up to 14 padded practices during this interval, which runs up to the start of the regular season.
With no preseason games to prepare for, training camp may be a bit more focused this year. It will be a more integrated process, especially with this being the teams’ first chance to get their hands on all of the new faces.
It should be noted that for any team who has not trimmed its roster down to a maximum of 80 players (international players excluded), they will be required to run a split-squad format, dividing the roster into two groups, veterans in the second group. They can only be permitted to practice at the same time if they practice at separate facilities and use separate locker rooms. All teams are required to reduce their rosters down to 80 by August 17th, when padded practices begin.