If one thing has become clear around the NFL this week, it's that anyone can come down with coronavirus. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was one of the multiple players to get diagnosed with the virus this week, and with that diagnosis came a harsh reality: It's pretty much a certainty that multiple players around the NFL are going to be dealing with the virus during the season.
If a player diagnosed with coronavirus has to quarantine for two weeks, that could potentially create some major roster problems for teams during the regular season. For instance, if Tom Brady were to come down with the virus, the Buccaneers would potentially be without their starting quarterback for two games. The idea of a player of losing a player to the virus has made prepping for the 2020 season unlike any other. For the upcoming season, coaches will have to consider multiple contingency plans in case they lose a key player.
During a recent interview on Chris Long's "Green Light" podcast, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians was asked what he might do if Brady or another one of his quarterbacks came down with coronavirus, and he gave a very interesting answer.
Apparently, Arians is thinking about putting one of his quarterbacks in quarantine.
"There's 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," Arians said. "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."
The Buccaneers currently have three quarterbacks on their roster in Brady, Griffin and Gabbert, and Arians' plan would involve keeping one of the backups away from the other two guys. That way if Brady got sick and then got his backup sick, Arians would still have a third quarterback to turn to. If Griffin is the third-string quarterback, that means he might not be spending much time with the other two guys.
Apparently, Arians has spent most of June mulling over these contingency plans.
"Yeah, that's one of the things I've been pondering the last two or three weeks as we set the protocols, and from what I'm understanding is if you test positive, you get quarantined for two weeks," Arians said. "Now, if you have no symptoms, I don't know what that means, is it a false (positive)?"
Arians isn't the only coach who will have to deal with this issue. Every coach around the league should be working to put a plan in place in case their starting quarterback comes down with coronavirus.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson was actually asked about Arians' "quarantine" plan this week, and he sounded like a guy who might end up taking the plans one step further.
"If you do it with the quarterback position, do you do it with a receiver, do you do it with a defensive back, something like that," Pederson said. "But these are all things that right now, between now and the time we play are really -- or I should say the time we get back to training camp, are the scenarios that we need to as a staff think through and the possibilities. But that is definitely something to consider as you move forward to protect the quarterback position, but at the same time you have to think about the entire roster, as well. A lot of different scenarios and a lot of possibilities we'll think about here in the next few weeks."
The biggest problem for NFL coaches right now is that they're running out of time to come with a coronavirus contingency plan for their roster. Most training camps are expected to start in roughly six weeks, which means each coaching staff has about a month and a half to get something figured out.