When it comes to the NFL, offseason is a bit of a misnomer. A more apt description would be the non-playing season or non-game season but in the spirit of brevity – if you're into that sort of thing – offseason persists.
The NFL's offseason program which runs from April to June is broken up into three phases, which consist of various levels of workouts, on-field work, instruction, and meetings. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL conducted an entirely virtual offseason in 2020 but with things slowly beginning to get back to normal teams will go through a modified offseason program in 2021.
The Falcons, along with the NFL's 31 other clubs, are currently in the midst of Phase 1 of the offseason program. Typically, this phase consists of meetings and strength and conditioning work. It's essentially a slow ramping back up for the players as they return to the practice facility and begin to prepare for the upcoming season. In 2021, there are some holdovers from the virtual offseason in place with Phase 1 being extended from its traditional two-week period to four weeks.
Over these four weeks, the Falcons can hold two hours of directed activity as permitted by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Those two hours generally include a team meeting and smaller position group meetings, all conducted virtually via Microsoft Teams. Players can work out in the weight room at the Flowery Branch training facility under the direction of the strength and conditioning coaches. Players are also allowed to work out on their own on the field but no footballs may be used and no coaches may be on the field with them. We won't get into all the minutiae of the NFL-NFLPA "Post-Elimination COVID-19 Protocols" except to say that player safety is paramount.
It's important to note that all of these Phase 1 activities are voluntary. The only requirement for players to attend would be if said player has a workout bonus in their contract.
To recap, Phase 1 includes:
- Virtual Meetings
- Strength and conditioning work
- No footballs can be used on the field and no coaches can be on the field.
- All voluntary