No one on the planet Earth is naive to what's going on with the rabid COVID-19 pandemic, least of all NFL teams. The league went forward with the 2020 regular season despite a mountain of scrutiny from detractors advising against it and, for the most part, things went off without a hitch for several weeks before the wheels began to rattle due to coronavirus issues with a handful of teams that forced a slew of on-the-fly schedule changes. None of those pivots have been tied to or fueled by the Dallas Cowboys though, and owner Jerry Jones remains dedicated to doing whatever he can to stay on the right side of those railroad tracks.
To that end, the team has established a bubble during their Week 10 bye -- sources confirm to CBS Sports -- specifically for all staff that has direct contact with players. This is similar to Pittsburgh Steelers ran into positive COVID-19 results following the battle in Week 9 at AT&T Stadium, but the bubble is Jones' way of ensuring the Cowboys aren't the next team to throw the league into disarray., and at the same location, when a large number of players took up residence at the Omni Hotel attached to Cowboys headquarters at The Star in Frisco, TX. The team entered intensive protocols after the
"We're going in a more intense way, and we're having our coaches restrict their activities away from the field and restrict their contacts away from the field," Jones said to 105.3FM the Fan on Tuesday. "We're having all staff that touch a player do that. That's in addition to what the NFL is doing."
The Omni Hotel is directly connected to The Ford Center (a 12,000-seat practice venue), and isn't lacking for whatever the staff might need.
For Jones and the Cowboys, it's all about not getting comfortable -- something they were reminded against by a recent move of both quarterback Andy Dalton and Tyrone Crawford to the COVID-19 list. While it's unclear if Dalton had contracted the illness, separate sources confirm Crawford did not, but instead had contact with someone who had. Both moves marked the first time since Ezekiel Elliott tested positive in July that the Cowboys had a run-in with the novel coronavirus.
They're doing better than other teams in that regard, but Jones is going to keep his pedal to the floor.
"Don't let your guard down because tomorrow all of that could change," he said. "And that's a fact. Don't let me think for one second we've got the key to how to not have this COVID outbreak. We don't. But the things we're doing are working here."
And while some question the Cowboys commitment to the cause while Jones -- in the same breath -- continues to brag about attendance numbers, the Hall of Fame owner points out how effective their pod system and overall stadium protocol have been.
"I'm very proud of the fact that we do it safely, we do it smartly," he said. "Our fans are really helpful, to say the very least, in playing in front of those fans. I see a continued aggressive approach to having fans out there. We'll see. That's not being insensitive to the fact that we've got our COVID and an outbreak.
"Some say maybe it is, but not when we're doing it as safe as we are, and not when you're having the results we are. Literally, we have had no one report that they've had any contact with COVID from coming to our game. No one."