Could the Miami Dolphins banish one of their three quarterbacks away from teammates, or the team facility altogether, to ensure the team will not be in a bind if the other quarterbacks come down with COVID-19?
It’s been a topic floated around NFL teams since the start of training camps, which have tried to avoid the coronavirus with health and safety precautions in place for players, coaches and other team staff members at team facilities.
No NFL team wants to be in the situation where their starting quarterback and/or backup either tests positive for COVID-19 or encounter someone who has a day or two before a game. Such an ordeal could cost a team a valuable game during a season that has already been affected by virus and pandemic.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores says the team has discussed the possibility of quarantining either Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen or Tua Tagovailoa. But Flores believes the team’s schedule, which has players only convening during walk throughs and practices with Zoom virtual calls used for team meetings, is a good system in place for now.
“We have looked into really every possible scenario, that being one of them,” Flores said of the potential to quarantine any of his quarterbacks during a video conference interview on Monday.
“Look, a lot of our meetings are Zoom right now. So, everyone is in a quarantine. But in a lot of ways it takes care of itself. We’ve thought about that. We’ve talked about that scenario as well as a plethora of other scenarios. So I think we have a plan in place that we feel good about.”
The Dolphins’ quarterback protocol could change either during the leadup or when their season officially begins on Sept. 13 on the road against the New England Patriots.
Such a scenario could also depend on the health of Tagovailoa, the Dolphins’ rookie whose return from a hip injury will continue to be the team’s top storyline during the 2020 season.
If Tagovailoa is the team’s top backup or quarantined quarterback, he would have to be healthy enough to play if the team’s starter gets hurt during a game or two quarterbacks are affected somehow by COVID-19 before a game.
Fitzpatrick may be the least likely candidate to be the Dolphins’ quarantined quarterback because his leadership and expertise knowing the team’s new offense, after working five years previously with new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, could help other Dolphins players on the field during games.
Fitzpatrick is expected to be the team’s starting quarterback, with Rosen likely to be Miami’s top backup until Tagovailoa is medically cleared by the franchise to make his rookie debut and play in games this season.
Some other highlights from Flores’ time with the media on Monday:
— The Dolphins coach expressed optimism again for the NFL to play “as many games as we can play” if the league and its members do their part to test, wear masks, social distance and take heed to other protections, like contract tracing.
“All I’ll say is we’re going to try to wear our masks, wear our contact tracers, distance and do the best we can. And obviously we all know that if you have one person with a virus, people can get infected quickly,” Flores said.
“So. all we can do is do our best to prevent that from happening. And I think if we do that, we give ourselves a chance to play a full season. Which is all we can do.”
— Flores would love to see football fans in the stands at home and away games, but understands the concern about having them attend games during the pandemic.
“Look, if we can have fans and have them at the games in a safe way, I’m all for it,” Flores said. “If the people who make those decisions don’t think that’s the right thing to do, then we’ll play without fans.”
— Flores also said the Dolphins are keeping an eye on college football, where leagues are deciding to either cancel or postpone their respective seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Typically, NFL teams send scouts and executives to college football practices and games to begin the process for the next year’s NFL draft. That process would obviously be affected if games are canceled.
Flores says he, general manager Chris Grier, vice president of football operations Brandon Shore and assistant general manager Marvin Allen “have a plan in place for how we’re going to go about this scouting season if there is no season.”
The Dolphins could be major players again in the 2021 NFL draft, where they have two first-round picks and two second-round picks, thanks to the Laremy Tunsil trade that sent him to the Houston Texans last August.
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