From the department of stating the obvious, the St. Louis Rams will not start training camp until July 26 at the earliest. Players from the Rams and the Chicago Bears, the two Hall of Fame Game participants, were originally scheduled to report on Friday, July 22, and start camp the next day.
The Hall of Fame Game is scheduled for August 7. Right now, the NFL hews to the party line that the game is still scheduled, a technicality. Adam Schefter of ESPN describes the status of the game as "up in the air."
Players are expected to vote on a settlement today; owners will vote tomorrow. Even with both parties agreeing to a deal, there will be some orderly process for lifting the lockout. Teams will want to check in, officially, with their current players, particularly the injured ones. A deal also could allow coaches to get in some early work with players currently under contract before officially opening camp.
Personally, I still am of the mind that the league should nix the Hall of Fame Game, but I doubt that happens, unless camp opens much later than the 26th. What seems most likely is a light contact scrimmage, Pro Bowl-esque in its physicality. I'm still leery of that saving wear and tear on the players. With votes coming today and tomorrow, we should know the status of the HOF Game soon thereafter. Don't expect the league to walk away from the chance to announce it's return from the brink in prime time.
Another interesting wrinkle in the shortened prep time is the elimination of two-a-days. Coaches will doubtlessly find other ways to drill players, but taking away practice time after losing the better part of an offseason can't really do anything to help player readiness. Matt Bowen of the National Football Post has a good piece out today in favor of two-a-days. In short, his argument is that's how players prepare and get better.
Twice daily practices don't have to be a particularly brutal affair. Spagnuolo dialed down the intensity of the Rams' training camp last year after a more grueling affair in his first season, a season plagued by injuries. Full pads and full contact at one session can be followed by work in shells at a second, per Bowen. What's really the point of a walk through?
Funny that the Hall of Fame Game could be a glorified "shells" practice in light of this.