After a COVID-19 outbreak in Baltimore forced a string of scheduling changes, the NFL announced the Washington Football Team will play Monday afternoon in Pittsburgh, shifting from an early Sunday start.
Now let's be clear about something: This is not a huge deal.
Just ask Ron Rivera.
"I’ve told the coaches this and I’ve told the players this, we can’t make a big deal if something changes," Rivera said Monday.
The coach's comments came before the official NFL announcement pushed back the game, but Rivera is a smart man and saw the writing on the wall. And more importantly, he has his players prepared for schedule changes.
"When you start worrying about that, what was interesting becomes important. That’s not what we want to happen. It’s not important. It’s interesting, it’s different—OK, we deal with it and we move on," the coach said.
Deal with it and move on. It's really pretty simple.
That's the whole mantra of the NFL, the celebrated Next Man Up league. NFL players are positioned to deal with changes, even in a regimented game, change is a constant.
Besides, sure, with the schedule change Washington now has one less day to prepare for the 49ers in Week 14.
But consider these two things:
- Washington will get 10 days off before they face the Steelers. The Burgundy and Gold last played on November 27th and won't play again until December 7th. That's a huge break and should let some banged up players get plenty of rest.
- The 49ers aren't even allowed to play home games right now. Local officials in Santa Clara, California shut down all team sports, so the Niners' "home" game against Washington will actually be played in Arizona. Both teams will be traveling. Even more, San Francisco isn't even sure of their practice plans. It's entirely possible that Washington will have the more normal schedule before the Week 14 tilt against San Francisco.
Also consider this - COVID-19 is wreaking havoc across the country and the NFL.
Don't worry about Week 14 until Week 13 actually happens.