As outbreak continues, WFT does what it can to prep for Eagles


Every one of Ron Rivera's Wednesday press conferences so far this year had been held in person at the Washington Football Team's headquarters in Ashburn, Va., but due to a Covid outbreak that's currently ravaging his roster, his most recent media session was pushed to Zoom. 

And before the coach sat down to face an onslaught of questions about the ongoing situation — 18 of his players resided on the reserve/Covid-19 list as of this story's publish time, with Troy Apke literally joining that group as this was being written — he clearly was having flashbacks to 2020.

"It's déjà vu all over again," Rivera said.  

This coming Sunday, Rivera's squad is set to travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in what will be a crucial matchup for the NFC Wild Card race.

Yet the team, which was already dealing with key injuries stemming from its past couple of outings, is now forced to watch as more and more names are tagged with the reserve/Covid-19 designation.

The constant news is causing the remaining healthy players to feel quite dizzied.

"We were in meetings and one of the guys told me that somebody else had it and it's like, 'Oh, there's another one and there's another one,'" Brandon Scherff said in his chat with reporters on Wednesday. "It's just the nature of the game right now."

Rivera explained that there's a chance he gets a chunk of those sidelined 17 back by kickoff in Philly, but Kendall Fuller, for example, will miss the contest because he's unvaccinated and NFL rules will prevent him from returning by then. Others will inevitably be unable to recover, too.


Despite all the uncertainty, the league hasn't yet approached Washington about postponing or canceling its meeting with the Eagles. 

"We've been told nothing," he said.

Until that changes, Rivera will do his best to prepare the Burgundy and Gold for Week 15.

On Wednesday, that meant taking "every able body" he could in order to host a walkthrough at the facility. The shortage of available options there was striking:

It sounded like some funky things happened during that get-together, by the way.

"I got some center reps today, I've never played center in my entire life," Scherff revealed. "You never know.

"I practiced it about three snaps, so we're getting there."

Maybe the most remarkable trait that those in the NFL exhibit is the ability to ignore whatever's going on away from the field in order to produce as best as they can on it. It can be uncanny at times, honestly.

When it was his turn to reflect on what's transpired recently, Taylor Heinicke displayed that attribute with his remarks. 

"It's all about guys personally being dialed in," the quarterback said. "We've dealt with adversity all year this year."

While that may be true, the organization hasn't experienced anything like this yet, nor did it a season ago, either. Nearly every single position group is down at least one man, and the next wave of moves could just be a refresh of Twitter away.

The franchise's response to the madness, however, is to just keep looking forward. For now, the club has a trip to Philadelphia on its calendar and that's what they're attempting to focus on.

"I can't control what that test says," Heinicke said. 

Rivera expressed a similarly simple opinion. 

"We'll show up on Sunday and see what happens," he said.