The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were bitten by the injury bug at the most inopportune time in 2021.
While the players on the field certainly gave the team a competitive chance, losses of players like receiver Chris Godwin and right tackle Tristan Wirfs certainly impacted their chances of winning a second Super Bowl in as many years.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver, Chris Godwin
Under new rule agreements between the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), players put on injured reserve will now have to stay there for a minimum of four games instead of six.
This applies to any player receiving a reserve/injured or reserve/non-football injury/illness designation.
In addition to that change, NFL teams can now have eight players put on a reserve list and return with one player capable of coming back up to two times per year. Although, each return would count against a total of eight.
Along with changes to how reserve players are handled by their teams, practice squad tinkering continues to be done to try and find the right balance between team needs and player development.
Practice squads can now carry up to 16 players, up two from the 14 allowed previously.
And now teams can elevate players up to the active roster three times compared to the two times they were allowed to before.
The league and player's union also put in place new guidelines for early training camp sessions lowering the time permitted to workout players during the acclimation period.
Previous early camp sessions that were allowed to put players through up to two hours of practice have now been restricted to 90 minutes on Day 2 and just over 100 on Day 3.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers right tackle, Tristan Wirfs
In the end, the players get a better ramp up to the riggers of training camp, more opportunities for developmental players to earn an NFL paycheck while receiving direct coaching and potential playing time, and the teams get more flexibility when it comes to managing their rosters.
It's a rare win-win.
It won't necessarily keep teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from being impacted by injuries in the future, but it can certainly help them be a little more prepared and competitive when faced with them.