Both the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans are returning to a bit of normalcy on Saturday as the two clubs are set to reopen their facilities following a number of spats with COVID-19, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. This comes after two straight days of no new positive tests for each club, which by league protocols allows them to reopen their doors.
This news is especially good for Tennessee as they've been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. They've seen over a dozen members within the organization test positive for COVID-19 over the last two weeks, which has forced the league to reschedule a number of their contests. Week 4 between the Titans and Steelers was rescheduled for later this season, and their Week 5 matchup with the Bills has been pushed from Sunday to Tuesday. While Tennessee may be on the mend, the club still may be in hot water with the NFL as they are looking into whether or not the team violated protocols that are designed to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.
As for the Patriots, they have not had the great volume of positive tests as Tennessee, but they've captured headlines with who has tested positive. Quarterback Cam Newton tested positive last week, forcing the club to thrust Brian Hoyer into the starting spot under center, and this week they also saw reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore test positive. Outside of another practice squad player, it appears like New England has dodged an outbreak as only three players are known to have tested positive.
"It's good to be back in the stadium and have everyone back in the facility," said Bill Belichick told reporters on Saturday. "It's been several days since we had the opportunity to do that -- with the players and the staff and all of us together collectively. Today is an important day for our preparation against the Broncos. We've had several days now of virtual meetings between the staff members and from staff to the players. We've been able to cover a lot of things, but haven't spent any time together. Today is our opportunity to do that and we look forward to that."
Belichick also noted on Saturday that both Newton and Gilmore would not be practicing with the club as they gear up for their Monday matchup with Denver. As for who may start under center in this game, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported on Friday that Jarrett Stidham would get the nod of Newton was not able to go.