The NFL is still planning to have training camps kick off in late July with extensive guidelines in place to encourage social distancing. The league has already reportedly chopped the preseason in half. And the NFL is now thinking about having fans sign a waiver if they want to attend games in 2020.
Even if there is a 2020 NFL season, it’s not going to be a normal one.
The NFL is still hoping to have a season during the COVID-19 pandemic, but if it actually happens it’s going to be unlike any NFL season we’ve ever seen. And some teams are already preparing for the real possibility that some of their players test positive.
Back in early June, on Chris Long’s Green Light podcast, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said he might actually quarantine one of his quarterbacks so they won’t be left without one.
It’s a valid thought. Quarterback is the most important position in football and if coronavirus ends up going through a quarterback room, it could sink a season.
After Arians’ comment to Long, I had a chance to ask Eagles head coach Doug Pederson if he had thought through those scenarios and if he would entertain the possibility of quarantining a quarterback.
He didn’t shoot it down.
Obviously there are a lot of ways to go about things, and that's one way to do it,” Pederson said on June 16. “If you do it with the quarterback position, do you do it with a receiver, do you do it with a defensive back, something like that. But these are all things that right now, between now and the time we play are really — or I should say the time we get back to training camp, are the scenarios that we need to as a staff think through and the possibilities.
“But that is definitely something to consider as you move forward to protect the quarterback position, but at the same time you have to think about the entire roster, as well. A lot of different scenarios and a lot of possibilities we'll think about here in the next few weeks.
In Tampa Bay, Arians has Tom Brady as his starter and his second- and third-string quarterbacks are Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin. Both Gabbert and Griffin were with Arians in Tampa Bay last year, so Griffin (the third-stringer) would be a good candidate to quarantine. He’s a 30-year-old lifetime backup who has been in Tampa Bay since 2015.
The Eagles’ don’t have that same setup.
The starter obviously can’t be quarantined; Wentz needs first-team practice reps.
And their depth chart at QB looks like this: Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts, Kyle Lauletta.
For the Eagles, the idea of quarantining their third-string quarterback won’t work. Hurts is a second-round rookie who is coming into a season without any spring workouts. He needs to spend as much time around Wentz and the coaching staff as possible. Forget the idea of keeping him out of the QB room.
So that leaves Sudfeld and Lauletta. It’s hard to imagine the Eagles keeping four quarterbacks, so if Lauletta is still around, he’ll be on the practice squad. But he has just one year with the Eagles under his belt and is a young player who would probably benefit more from being with players and coaches. (And I mean no disrespect to Lauletta, but if the season ends up coming down to him, things have gone terribly wrong.)
That means the most obvious guy to quarantine if the Eagles decide to go that route would be Sudfeld. It would be a strange situation, having your backup quarterback quarantining throughout the week because on game day, he’d need to be active and then join the team. It wouldn’t work out perfectly, but it’s not exactly like there’s an ideal situation in any of this.
If it isn’t Sudfeld, maybe the Eagles can just ask quasi-retired Josh McCown to quarantine and stay ready at home. Crazier things have happened.
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