Peyton Manning urges NFL draftees to stay creative during coronavirus pandemic, study more while locked down

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Peyton Manning on Wednesday said there were some comparisons between the coronavirus pandemic, which is causing uncertainty about the NFL Draft and forcing virtual workouts with new teammates, and the 2011 lockout.

Manning told 105.3 The Fan that players weren’t allowed into team facilities during the lockout, either, so he and his teammates had to get creative when it came to preparing for the upcoming season.

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“In 2011, we had the NFL lockout where you truly weren't allowed to go into the facility,” the former quarterback said. “… But in advance of that, knowing the lockout was coming, I got a bunch of footballs, got some practice jerseys, got some old scripts, got some cards to draw some blitzes and sort of organized our own practices.

“We were meeting over at a high school, throwing routes, coming together and doing blitzes and doing walkthroughs and kind of having a semblance of a practice. I really felt like the team that can kind of get an edge or an advantage during this time has a real chance to come out ahead on this thing.”

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Manning said it’s obvious that players have to navigate between the restrictions issued by the government and health experts but players should still have to find creative ways to stay involved.

“Obviously going within the rules of what you're allowed to do — virtual meetings and, obviously, there's certain restrictions but I think it's an opportunity to be creative, to kind of take some ownership as players to sort of lead these meetings and workouts,” he said.

“That's kind of my encouragement to players: Instead of kind of complaining about it, study some film from last year — even extra film. Study specific fundamentals and techniques that you can improve on. I think you can actually come out of this whole deal a better player because you had more time to study yourself.”

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Manning emphasized that nothing compares to the coronavirus pandemic right now.

The NFL Draft will be held in an online format for the first time. General managers and coaches will be making selections via the Internet with Roger Goodell announcing picks from his home basement.