The NFL has been working on a variety of scenarios as the league prepares for the 2020 season during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, league officials canceled the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame game that was scheduled to open the preseason on August 6.
Now comes word that the NFL will drop the games scheduled to be played in Week 1 and Week 4 of the preseason, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:
NFL to announce on Thursday (if not sooner) that Week One and Week Four of the 2020 preseason will be scrapped https://t.co/eJ5jO7EDCQ— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 1, 2020
Florio cites no sources for the news, but said the decision to cut two preseason games — which has been rumored for weeks — has to do with eliminating a road trip for each team while giving coaches and players an extra week of practice at their training facilities, which will presumably be safer.
If it turns out that the two games cut come in Week 1 and Week 4, that would eliminate the Cleveland Browns game against the Chicago Bears, currently scheduled for August 15 at Soldier Field, and the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, currently scheduled for September 3 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
It is hard to know at this time how much that will impact the Browns going into the season. The team needs as much time together as possible to get acclimated to new head coach Kevin Stefanski’s system, but the starters would likely have played very little against the Bears and not at all against the Buccaneers.
Plus, none of this should come as a surprise as teams have known for a while that the preseason would likely be reduced, giving the coaching staffs plenty of time to work out how they will handle a very different situation during training camp and the preseason.