Football Team

Rivera says players 'have to be smart' to avoid a coronavirus outbreak

Football Team

Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team have not had an easy season when it comes to the quarterback position. Until recently with Alex Smith, there were questions and tough decisions each week.

Still, even with all that, Washington's situation seems rather tame compared to what the Denver Broncos experienced in Week 12. Denver took the field on Sunday with all four quarterbacks inactive due to COVID-19 exposure, forcing them to start at practice squad wide receiver under center.

The strange situation stemmed from the Broncos quarterback reportedly not wearing masks or social distancing around Jeff Driskell, who was the first of the group to go on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. That led to the three other passers being deemed close contacts.

For Rivera, the goal has been to avoid any positive tests within the organization. Yet, while Washington has not dealt with major issues that other teams have, the surge in cases across the country makes that rather challenging. So, Rivera has also put a focus on making sure a few players at key positions are somewhat separate from others to avoid a fate similar to Denver.

“We try to make sure our guys understand that specific people have to be smart and have to make sure they’re keeping themselves away from the contact tracing as much as possible," Rivera said.

"We try to make sure that on certain times, backups, the practice squad guys, understand that they’ve got to stay separated. So, we’re trying to reinforce that even more so now. It’s something that we’ve talked about as a staff this week is that we’ve got to make sure these guys all understand they’ve got to maintain the social distance.”

 

Download and subscribe to the Washington Football Talk Podcast

Specifically, he touched on the quarterbacks and kickers as groups in which he wants to make sure there is always at least one person available in case of an outbreak. When Washington had four quarterbacks on the roster, it was a little easier to manage. Yet with Kyle Allen out for the season, Smith, Dwayne Haskins and Steven Montez all must be aware of their surroundings and exposure at all times. 

While some coaches considered the idea of quarantining one quarterback away from the others in order to guarantee the whole position isn't impacted, Rivera has not implemented that style. He still wants all the quarterbacks to be in the meetings and gain reps. But, precautions are still being taken.

“We didn’t necessarily stash them away and keep them in touch virtually. We did have them in meetings. We did have them out at practice, but again we’ve tried to make sure we maintain that social distancing," Rivera said. "I think that’s really important.”