Lions head coach Dan Campbell voices obvious thing if NFL calendar changes

As proposed changes to offseason work in concert with an obvious move to expand the regular season schedule, Lions head coach Dan Campbell sees a residual impact that all coaches will see.

As OTAs roll on around the league and with minicamps coming this month, a headline was made this past week with Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reporting the NFLPA is working on a proposal to alter the offseason schedule. The proposal would eliminate voluntary on-field work in favor of a longer training camp, with players reporting in mid-June to early July.

It's clear the NFL wants to eventually to go to an 18-regular season schedule. Some see the NFLPA's proposal to change the offseason as a concession to that in the next collective bargaining agreement.

With the change to 17 regular season games in 2021 came a trim from four to three preseason games. Adding another regular season game would naturally mean going to two preseason games.

Speaking to reporters at OTAs this week, Lions' head coach Dan Campbell was asked about the NFLPA's proposal to change the offseason schedule and the idea of an 18-game regular season.

Dan Campbell has obvious concern with notion of a two-game preseason

Campbell said he has no strong opinion on the idea of the offseason calendar changing, or the addition of another regular season game in a direct sense. But he does have thoughts on the residual move to two preseason games if/when there's 18 regular season games.

"You look at what we were able to do with some of our young guys last year, and how important they were to us winning, but there’s a process to it," he said. "If you don’t get them developed or get them enough reps to where they help you, then — that’s the only thing. That’s what you lose, so there again, we’ll make it work. It’s a long season right now, and we’ll make it work either way.”

Campbell, and any other coach, will lament the loss of another preseason game as a way to develop and evaluate players who are battling to make a roster. And losing a preseason game is a loss of an opportunity for those type of players to make an impression in a game setting.

But coaches and players won't drive the decision to add a regular season game, and subtract a preseason game. The owners will, in negotiation with the NFLPA, and one more regular season game will surely lead to more money for everyone. Coaches may not like it, in terms of having two preseason games, and it ultimately won't matter.


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