Through the first three months of the 2020 NFL season, the Washington Football Team has been largely unaffected by coronavirus compared to many other NFL clubs.
Washington has had just one player placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list since July; only the Seattle Seahawks have them beat in that aspect. None of the Burgundy and Gold's games had been moved from their original scheduled date, either.
That all changed this week. As a result of Baltimore and Pittsburgh's Week 12 game being postponed six days, Washington's Week 13 clash with Pittsburgh was delayed from Sunday to Monday evening to give the Steelers one extra day of rest in between games.
Speaking with the media on Wednesday, Washington head coach Ron Rivera said the one-day postponement won't impact how the team prepares for the 11-0 Steelers.
"It hasn’t changed much as far as our approach," Rivera said. "I told the guys they’ve got to stay fluid and just got to be ready to handle anything that changes and anything that moves."
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has seen their schedule altered twice due to coronavirus outbreaks of two of their opponents. Besides the three postponements of Baltimore-Pittsburgh, the Steelers had their bye week importantly moved from Week 8 to Week 4 after the Titans weren't able to suit up for their original scheduled date early October.
When Pittsburgh originally had their bye week moved, several of the players were understandably upset. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, on the other hand, took the "we do not care" approach.
Rivera seems to be taking a similar approach with his team this week in regards to the schedule change.
"Let’s not make a big deal about it," Rivera said. "Again, the focus is really to play the game."
After Washington's Monday game concludes, the team will have a short week to prepare for the San Francisco 49ers. That game won't be played in the Bay Area, though, as the 49ers have been forced to move to Arizona until Dec. 21 due to Santa Clara County restrictions.
While next week also will be an unconventional one for Washington, Rivera is determined to make sure his team doesn't get ahead of themselves.
“We won’t worry about that game until we get to that week," Rivera said.
Playing football amidst the coronavirus pandemic was always going to come with challenges, but Rivera and his staff are ready to deal with whatever is thrown their way.
"We’re going to focus in on the things we need to do to give ourselves the opportunity to win a football game," he said.