NFL, owners discuss 2020 training camp, season, social initiatives
On Thursday, the NFL hosted a virtual meeting with team owners to discuss several important topics as we get close to the start of the 2020 season. Here are some of the highlights from the meeting as reported by NFL.com:
NFL executive vice president, general counsel Jeff Pash said teams were advised that training camps are expected to open on the normal schedule. For most clubs, that will be July 28th.
NFL owners voted Thursday to approve covering the seats in rows closest to the field in order to maintain a safe distance between players, anyone on the sidelines and fans. Teams are allowed to sell that space to advertisers.
NFL executive vice president of football ops Troy Vincent told reporters that every team will be given anti-racism training in July.
As for the possibility of a reduced preseason, Pash told reporters that the league is in active discussions with the NFLPA on that matter.
In addition to topics involving the upcoming season, Thursday's virtual meeting also focused on voting education and registration initiatives.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the NFL is developing several programs that will focus on education, registration, and activation, and will work with the Players Association, the Players Coalition and other organizations.
"Our goal is for everyone associated with the NFL to register to vote and vote and inspire others," NFL senior VP of social responsibility Anna Isaacson told Rapoport. "… We all have a shared right and obligation to go vote."
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.
Saquon ranked one of most productive RBs between the tackles in NFL
Saquon Barkley enjoyed a stellar rookie campaign, finishing the season with 1,307 rushing yards on 261 carries (5.0 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns. Barkley also caught 91 receptions, tied for the 4th-most in a season in franchise history, for 721 yards and another four touchdowns. His rookie year accolades include the Pepsi Rookie of the Year award, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year award.
Barkley set several franchise records with his 2018 performance, including most rushing touchdowns by a rookie, most rushing yards by a rookie and most total touchdowns by a rookie. He also made the league record books by catching the most receptions by a rookie running back and recording the most 100+ yards from scrimmage games by a rookie (12) in NFL history.
While a high ankle sprain forced him to miss some time last year, the young back still finished with 1,441 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns. Barkley became the first running back in Giants history to run for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.
Despite missing three and a half games, Barkley's 2019 performance was even more impressive than it appears.
According to Next Gen Stats, Barkley averaged 52.92 rushing yards per game between the tackles, the highest mark in the NFL. He also led the league with 19 runs of 10+ yards between the tackles, and ranked fifth with his 5.13 yards per carry.
Barkley's overall score of 88.58 finished as the second-highest score among all qualified running backs on inside runs.
View photos of Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
Zeitler can't wait to get 2020 season started
Right guard Kevin Zeitler is entering his ninth season in the NFL, but this offseason has been unlike anything he has ever experienced.
Zeitler, who was acquired in a March 2019 trade with the Cleveland Browns, and the rest of the Giants have been forced to install the new coaching staff's playbook virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of hitting the fields at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center for OTAs, the team has relied on video conference calls to learn under first-year head coach Joe Judge.
Despite the challenges presented by the on-going pandemic, Zeitler is confident the Giants will be ready to roll once training camp begins next month.
"I think it's a challenge, but I think we have the type of guys and coaches on this team that we're just going to embrace it," the veteran guard said. "We're not going to worry about what we've missed. We're just going to move forward and figure it out …
"I think our biggest focus is we just need to make sure everyone knows what we're doing. We know because we haven't been able to work out on the field, training camp is going to come at us quickly. The focus is everyone needs to know what to do, because we're not going to have a lot of time. We want to try to stay ahead of the game and take advantage of when we can out on the field."
For a young team that has already put the struggles of last year behind them, the opening of the 2020 season cannot come soon enough.
"Overall, everyone is excited," Zeitler explained. "We're ready to put last year completely behind us. I think we already have. We can't waste our time about that. It's all about building up with this new staff, this new experience, and we're excited to get it going."