The maybe not-so-obvious for NFL coaches: Should I self-quarantine a quarterback?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has pondered that question as coaching staffs around the league are returning to team facilities. There is still uncertainty over how the season will be played, and presumably if there is a positive test that player would be quarantined.
Speaking on former defensive end Chris Long’s podcast “Green Light”, Arians said he might keep one quarterback away from the facility in case Tom Brady and his back-up both need to be quarantined.
“Yeah, that's one of the things I've been pondering the last two or three weeks, as we set the protocols,” Arians said. “From what I'm understanding is if you test positive, you get quarantined for two weeks. Now, if you have no symptoms, I don't know what that means — is it a false (positive)? Is it... There is so much to learn and still explore with this thing. But I've thought about keeping the third quarterback on the roster out of the room. We have two guys that have been in our system (Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin), really sharp. So I might have to quarantine a quarterback just in case of a quarantine.”
Sound familiar? It’s akin to the line of succession protocols in government. During the president’s State of the Union address, one unannounced member of the cabinet locked away in an obscure area if there’s a disaster, attack or unforeseen event at the address. It’s also used for inaugurations and presidential speeches to joint sessions of Congress.
The stakes are lower in the NFL, but it still doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Players of the same position are spending the most time together in meetings and practices, and would be most likely to pass along the disease to each other.
What happens if they all stay together, and then have to quarantine for two weeks due to a positive test? Teams would be without any quarterback who knows the system for two games.
The NFL sent a memo to teams about reopening protocols. They included instructions for reconfigured locker rooms to adhere to social distancing and encouraged virtual meetings whenever possible. That might be the best course of action to keep quarterbacks distanced.
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