The Eagles are just like the rest of us. Over seven months into the coronavirus world, they’re pretty used to virtual meetings.
That’s good news this week.
Because after a coach tested positive for COVID-19, the Eagles are now in the NFL-NFLPA “intensive protocol” this week as they prepare to face the Giants on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles’ meetings will be completely virtual this week.
“The only thing it really affects is meeting time,” Doug Pederson said. “We had a really good session this morning virtually. We leaned on our experiences from the spring and the summer in training camp with the virtual stuff. We had a really good session with the players and their meetings.
“Now, we get them over here to test (for COVID-19) and practice on the field. We’re just limited in the amount of availability with the players right now. But we’re going to make the most of it and the messaging is that we eliminate distractions and we focus on the Giants and we prepare that way.”
Yes, the Eagles’ entire offseason and plenty of meetings since then have been done virtually. While the Eagles use Zoom for their media availabilities, Microsoft Teams has been their platform of choice for most internal meetings this year.
Sure, there’s the occasional mute button snafu, but they have gotten plenty of practice, which has led to a level of comfort in a virtual setting. That comfort level is especially important because the Eagles still want players to be engaged and interact during team and position meetings.
“We do a good job of staying involved and staying active even on the virtual meetings,” Jason Kelce said. “I think if we hadn’t been doing this all offseason already, trying to do it randomly in the middle of the season, it might be a challenge.
“But we did this for the entire offseason, we did it a lot with different meetings throughout the year. I think everybody at this point is perfectly comfortable doing things virtually if necessary.’
Tuesday’s news that a coach tested positive for COVID-19 came the week after safety Marcus Epps was placed on the NFL’s Reserve/COVID-19 list after a positive test. So the Eagles were in the “intensive protocol” last week too, but they were on their bye week so it didn’t really matter.
The intensive protocol requires that all meetings be held virtually unless meetings are held outdoors or in a bubble with masks and social distancing. The Eagles have opted to go completely virtual this week.
The changes to meetings are the most significant portion of the intensive protocol but it also affects some other areas. Usage of the locker room is discouraged and when it is in use there are rules about capacity and time spent. Weight room capacity is limited. And even on the practice field, all players and coaches must wear masks or helmet face shields. So things are a little different for the Eagles this week as they prepare for the Giants. But it’s 2020 and different is the new normal.