Before Colts president Bill Polian spoke out against the possibility of an 18-game season, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning made clear his position that he’s not interested in one of the major changes that would go along with an “enhanced” season.
“They’re trying to get rid of offseason workouts,” Manning told Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports. “They’re talking about extending the season to 18 games, so they’re
going to cut down the offseason stuff in return. That’s not a
fair trade. Offseason workouts – that’s how we’ve gotten our edge over
the years. It’s how you really develop a player and improve your craft.
“Without the offseason, how do we get anybody ready to play? I’ve
thrown to [undrafted receiver] Blair White since we picked him up in April, and there’s no
way he’s ready to play [Sunday] if I don’t have those reps with him. In
training camp, there just aren’t enough reps to get familiar with a guy
[near the bottom of the depth chart]. You’ve got be able to throw to him
in the spring – otherwise I wouldn’t feel good about rushing him out
Of course, not every NFL player would be upset about unproven players having fewer opportunities to prove themselves. Many NFL players aren’t stars; they’re middle-to-bottom-of-the-packers trying to protect their turf against the annual onslaught of free agents, draft picks, and undrafted rookies, like Blair White. So if more games means fewer opportunities to lose the opportunity to play in those games, the reduction of offseason workouts may be a major selling point for some players.