The Denver Broncos quarterback situation last Sunday has sent NFL teams in a frenzy.
All four of the Broncos quarterbacks were declared ineligible to play due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols. One quarterback tested positive while the others were forced to miss the game due to contact tracing and being deemed high risk. None of the players wore a mask inside the team's facility during the week.
Denver called up wide receiver and former Wake Forest QB Kendall Hinton from the practice squad, handed him the playbook and let him face the NFC's best team, the New Orleans Saints. He completed just 1-of-9 passes for 13 yards and had two interceptions as the Saints had their way with the Broncos in the 31-3 win.
It’s a nightmare situation no team wants to see happen, including Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. As a result, the Seahawks have decided to separate their practice squad quarterback, Danny Etling, from the rest of the quarterback room.
“We’ve been in the conversation of this for a long time and we actually kicked into a new gear— I hate to say it, we had to wait to see something bad happen,” Carroll said Wednesday. “But we have stepped forward in terms of taking care of Danny [Etling] to make sure that he apart from the other QBs. So if we had, Heaven forbid, some sort of circumstance, he would not be considered connected to those guys. In essence, he is separated from the QBs for now.”
By ramping up their protection of Etling, it helps the Seahawks in avoiding a situation like the one the Broncos faced in Week 12. Carroll says Seattle has several other players that could vault into the QB role if needed.
“We’ve got a couple of guys that can do different things, you’d be surprised the versatility of some of our guys,” Carroll said. “Jacob Hollister has quarterback background, DeeJay [Dallas] has a quarterback background, and we have some surprises as well, but those are guys that would jump in for us if we needed it.”
After four months of daily tests, beginning on July 28 the first day players reported to training camp, the Seahawks remain the only NFL team with no positive COVID-19 tests. It’s a remarkable feat considering the spike of coronavirus infections across the league.
“We feel very fortunate that we are where we are,” Carroll said. “We feel like we’re in good shape right now.”
The league recently informed teams to close down their facilities and conduct virtual-only meetings on Monday and Tuesday. The NFL also recently required teams to go into “intensive protocols,” which includes grab-and-go service only, no in-person contact between players and coaches away from the facility and no-in person meetings unless approved by the league in advance.
“I do think (the NFL) will continue to clamp down as we continue to see the severity of the situation,” Carroll said. “This is one day at a time deal.”