The pandemic has caused a lot of changes. Life these days for many of us has to stay fluid to keep up with the ever-evolving pandemic course. As coaches, teams, owners, athletes all try to prepare for their season and what could or couldn’t change, one thing is certain, there are not enough backup plans when it comes to the pandemic. The NFL and college football, thankfully, are getting a first hand look at how Major League Baseball is handling their pandemic. Not all colleges, of course, have the type of financial backings that MLB teams do to test their athletes every single day, but they are able to use what MLB is doing as a guide and learn from.
One area I think that is very important for the NFL to consider is the depth department. Let’s take the Miami Marlins for example, they have had 17 total cases confirmed, which has caused their last two games to be canceled. I don’t think anyone prepared to have the depth in their player pool to cover 17 players going down with Covid, including multiples from the same position. Most teams sent a number of prospects as part of the 60-man rosters but several are not prospects that are Major League ready.
A key concept to consider is keeping players of the same position secluded from others. The Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury touched on this when he addressed the media today and something they are considering,
“ We have had those discussions I think in multiple positions. What is the best way to handle that? What does that look like exactly and is that is something that will be ongoing? There are some positives to that and trying to handle this season with what is going on.”
The same can be planned for in college football. To the best that you can, separate the quarterbacks in the QB room, the offensive line guys, the DBs, and so on and so on- the better chance you'll have at fighting the virus and keeping it from jumping around and taking out an entire position group. How do you have the very necessary positional meetings without risking entire positional depth by placing them in the same room, even if spaced with more seats between them? How much of this can be done via technology? How much space is there to keep players apart? I know it may seem daunting, but these are daunting times. It calls to get creative and get ahead of the virus. If you have QB Jayden Daniels come down with it and then you have Darlin McLemore and Trenton Bourguet all come down with it, who is going to be your quarterback? I think the topic is worth discussing and putting a plan in place. Keeping the depth at each spot is going to be key for football, for sports in 2020.