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Ask a former NFL player: Do you think the 2020 season will be canceled?

In this week’s mailbag, Geoff Schwartz discusses what, besides the coronavirus outbreak itself, could delay the new season, as well as when tackles should move to guard.

A photo of the Raiders’ new Vegas stadium, superimposed on a border of black stars with the words “ask a former NFL Player” repeated in white letters
The Raiders will make their Vegas debut in 2020, if the NFL season goes on as planned.

The NFL has announced it’s continuing with business as usual with the draft going forward as planned from April 23-25. That’s welcome news to me. I will enjoy the draft giving me a break from reality and the coronavirus pandemic.

However, there are still questions about whether the NFL will start the season on time, and we will begin this week’s mailbag there.

Do you have a question you’d like Geoff to answer next time? Hit him up on on Twitter or Instagram.

Thoughts on Kirk Herbstreit’s TMZ interview? Do you share similar concerns about playing football in August? Or is too early to call (probably)? — @jdtubb

For those who don’t know, Herbstreit said he’d “be shocked” if we had college football or NFL this fall due to Covid-19.

My opinion has been the same for a few weeks now: Who knows!

I don’t understand the rush to cancel the football season, when training camp won’t start for another four months. That’s a LONG time away, especially when it feels like each day right now lasts a week. We have no idea what the landscape of our country will be in two months, let alone four months from now. The first Sunday of the NFL season isn’t until Sept. 13, and people are already discussing that being delayed.

And trust me, I get it. My wife is a nurse. I see updates about the situation in our city more than the public does. I’m aware what’s happening outside of football. However, we need reasons in life to be optimistic, and I’m going to look forward to an NFL season until there’s no season. Maybe I’m the fool for being so positive, though time will tell.

With all that being said, there’s another big concern about starting the season on time that isn’t the virus exactly. It’s the lack of preparation time for NFL players.

Gyms and facilities are closed, and players are having to be creative to get their prep work in right now. This is a huge problem, in my opinion, and could be the reason the start of the season is delayed. If gyms aren’t open by May 1, I’ll start to be more worried about the new season starting on time.

Would you rather have the full 2020 NFL season played without fans in attendance, or an 8- to 12-game season with fans in attendance? — @dkrom59

Personally, I’d rather see more football than not, so I’ll take games without fans. It would basically have the atmosphere of the fourth quarter of a preseason game. As a player, I’d hate it.

Players feed off the juice in the stadium. We play better when we get that vibe from the fans. The noise, the energy, and the emotion in the stadium all come from the crowd. That would be lost without fans. As I’ve stated on Twitter many times, I think the NFL will do whatever is in its power to play this season, even if it’s without fans.

So, if I had to guess, the NFL season would either start as normal, or without fans, but it will not be delayed if the reason is to wait for fans.

Rumors are that the Vikings could look to move Riley Reiff inside to guard and draft a tackle with one of their first-round picks. How easy is it for a longtime tackle to start playing guard? What traits transfer well and which don’t? — @BarlowPeter

I’d normally be against a tackle moving inside so late in his career, but Reiff has most of the traits needed to do it. People often suggest moving tackles to guards because they assume playing guard is easier, which of course it isn’t.

When a tackle moves inside, they will succeed if their hands are good, but their feet are just a tad too slow for tackle. You can survive at guard with good hands and “slower” feet. You can’t survive the move if your hands are bad at tackle and your feet are bad. Moving inside only makes the hand issues worse. Reiff does not have a problem with his hands, in my opinion, so the switch can be made.

The last question is whether or not Reiff wants to do that, which I don’t believe he would. But he might not have a choice.