At this point, with the draft going virtual and so much unknown with the coronavirus over the next few months, it's possible -- and perhaps growing more probable -- that the Cardinals' offseason work will be at least cut down if not lost altogether.
(We won't get into any delays when it comes to training camp or the regular season. We're too far out at this point to have a good handle on that yet.)
No offseason work makes me think about 2011. There was nothing that offseason. Of course, it wasn't because of a virus but because of the lockout, with players and management unable to come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. (It's interesting that any chance of that history repeating next offseason has been wiped out with the new CBA, only to have all this happening this offseason.)
When the new league year began, the lockout started. There was a brief one-day respite when players showed up in Tempe thinking there was a way to continue even without a CBA, but that was quickly pushed aside with the knowledge a new CBA was needed first. So basically from March to late July -- save for the draft, and Patrick Peterson's visit and press conference, since he wasn't under contract yet -- the facility was void of players. No business was done at all. There were reports the Cardinals might be trading for quarterback Kevin Kolb. Then, in late July, a new CBA was reached. There was a rush to sign players, build rosters, execute trades (like Kolb for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) and start training camp all in one fell swoop.
All that -- in addition to the absence of any offseason work/discussion/meetings -- made for some ragged football at the outset of the season.
About a decade later, there is the chance to have no work in the offseason again. But it's different. For one, while there is the increasing chance players won't be able to get on the field, there is no reason the players and coaches can't have meetings via Skype or Zoom or some such videoconferencing. It would be nice to have offseason on-field work, but it wouldn't be debilitating. Backup quarterback Brett Hundley noted that to have the QBs all return for a second year in Kliff Kingsbury's offense puts them ahead. "There is no lull," he said.
"W should be off and rolling whenever we start back," Hundley said. "OTAs are a good time for the offense to get a grip on things, but at the same time, this offense, we can pick up fast. We'll be fine."
That doesn't mean there won't be negatives if offseason work is totally lost. The 2019 drafted receivers all need that extra time on the field, particularly Hakeem Butler -- whose hand injury kept him from practice since August -- and Andy Isabella. Whoever the draft picks are will be trying to figure out the learning curve in training camp. It'd be nice to give Kyler Murray, as much as he accomplished as a rookie, that much more time to prep. But given the circumstances, it will help that the biggest addition to the wide receiving corps will be a vet who has played on this level in DeAndre Hopkins rather than (presumably) trying to plug in a rookie like a CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy.
No matter how it plays out, it will undeniably be a strange offseason. And we'll all have to wait to see what it means when the regular season begins.