The Jacksonville Jaguars and the rest of the NFL will not participate in preseason games this year.
Jacksonville Jaguars fans had already been talking about this on various social media platforms before was officially announced. The NFL will continue its offseason without preseason games, according to multiple sources including the Florida Times-Union and NFL.com.
The threat of COVID-19 and the changes made by teams around the NFL to combat potential obstacles with the 2020 season are part of the reason for the move to eliminate the practice games ahead of the season in September.
"Per Nick Shook of NFL.com, “The NFL Players Association on Tuesday told its players there will be zero preseason games in 2020, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Tom Pelissero and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.”"
The Jacksonville Jaguars have begin their next step in their offseason program as rookies reported to TIAA Bank Field on Tuesday for the first time. The team has continued to progress through their virtual offseason with the other 31 NFL teams in classroom-like learning. The Jaguars have 12 drafted rookies and 18 undrafted rookies how reported for COVID-19 testing.
There are still discussions which NFL teams will allow fans in stands this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars made it public that 25-percent of the seating capacity will be used for fan engagement, but those in attendance must follow strict social distancing guidelines, which includes using a mask in the stadium during games.
And because of the effects of the Coronavirus, the Jaguars will play all eight home games inside TIAA Bank Field for the first time since 2012.
"“Union leadership shared this information with its players during a conference call one day after the league proposed a one-game preseason slate to the union, then followed that up later Monday with an adjusted offer that included zero preseason games,” Shook added. “The NFL and NFLPA previously had been split on a preseason slate, with the league sticking to a desire to play half of a typical four-game preseason schedule before acquiescing this week.”"
NFL players have been outspoken about the changes to the season and the need for more protocols to protect everyone involved from the spread of the virus, including Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Chris Conley.
"″Not only that but we don’t know how teams will deal with the “non stars” if they test positive,″ [Chris] Conley wrote on his Twitter account Sunday. ″Will you fine or cut someone who gets sick? Are there any protections for players with at risk children if they miss a week? As of right now, we must assume the risk with out knowing.″"
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The comments were made as part of the story on Jacksonville.com.
As for now, the Jacksonville Jaguars are continuing with their process of bringing the entire team to TIAA Bank Field. As John Reid wrote, the first time fans would have an opportunity to see the team play on the field would be the first game of the season, which is at home this year.
"“Under that plan, the Jaguars would not have to play on the road against Carolina on Aug. 13 or face the Atlanta Falcons at TIAA Bank Field on Sept. 3,” he writes.“Now, they will not play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Aug. 22 or the Washington Redskins at TIAA Bank Field on Aug. 29, or any other preseason opponent, before their regular-season home opener against Indianapolis Sept. 13.”"
The elimination of the preseason games is not the only thing the League discussed with all 32 teams. The Jaguars and other franchises will need to reduce their roster from 90 players to 80 players under this agreement.