At the beginning of the Rams' nine-week offseason program, head coach Sean McVay said his best-case scenario was to have the first six weeks take place virtually and the final three weeks at the facility.
While it remains to be seen if that scenario comes to fruition, McVay has a plan in the event on-field instruction can be resumed for a minicamp and eventually training camp.
"We kind of have a model that we will operate off of," McVay said on a video conference with reporters Tuesday afternoon. "A lot of it will be predicated on, what will be the parameters around that?"
The answer to McVay's question will come from both internal and external sources, including conversations with Rams Senior Director of Sports Medicine and Performance Reggie Scott and his staff as well as league protocols.
The first phase of the NFL's re-opening plan began May 19, according to a memo NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent to club executives, with team facilities allowed to do so if governing state and local regulations permit it.
Facilities cannot operate at higher than 50 percent capacity, meaning no more than 75 people can be inside them. No coaches and players can return to facilities just yet, either – other than those rehabilitating injuries – for the sake of competitive equity. There is currently no timetable for when the second phase will begin.
"When we do get back on the field, we'll probably have to onboard these guys in a smart way, where you can't just jump into it like what we would like to as coaches, just getting excited," McVay said. "So there will be a progressive build. We'll be ready to handle if we're able to do anything, if we've got to accelerate our training camp."
Even with those current limitations, though, it's understandable why McVay would want to plan ahead.
The Rams' Thousand Oaks facility is located in Ventura County, which is one of the counties that advanced to Stage 3 of California's reopening plan yesterday. Large gathering venues will not open until Stage 4, or the end of the stay-at-home-order.
However, as shown with Ventura County's accelerated Stage 2 reopening last week, modifications are possible if critical indicators tell the state it can alter the scope of reopening without jeopardizing public health and safety. Gov. Gavin Newsom also said last week pro sports could potentially return in California "in that first week or so of June without spectators and modifications and very prescriptive conditions."
This week marks Week 4 of the Rams' virtual offseason program. It's difficult to predict whether they will be able to practice on the field in three weeks, but behind a foundation established by experiences in previous years, they'll be prepared just in case.