The Denver Broncos were able to duck the vagaries of the COVID-19 virus for the entire first quarter of the season but over the last few weeks, the team has seen multiple coaches, and now at least one player, test positive.
On Wednesday, we learned that offensive line coach Mike Munchak was placed in the COVID-19 protocol and on Friday, it was reported that a player under his tutelage has tested positive as well. ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news that a Broncos player had tested positive for COVID-19 on not long afterward, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero revealed that it was starting right guard Graham Glasgow.
"Broncos RG Graham Glasgow tested positive for COVID-19, per source. Two other players who were close contacts with Glasgow are also currently in isolation. Denver chose to cancel practice and go all virtual today," Pelissero tweeted.
Through the NFL's contract-tracing protocols, the two players in close proximity to Glasgow are now required to self-isolate until further testing can determine whether they too might have contracted the virus.
This unfortunate news takes Glasgow off the board for Denver in Week 8 with the Los Angeles Chargers coming to Mile High. And depending on who those two other players who've been quarantined are, there's a chance the Broncos could be without multiple O-line starters.
The fear is that it could be the two players Glasgow is closest to in proximity on the field — right tackle Demar Dotson and center Lloyd Cushenberry — but there's no way to know who it is. As it stands, Austin Schlottmann is expected to start in Glasgow's place at right guard.
If the Broncos have to play Week 8 without Dotson and Cushenberry, in a worst-case scenario, it would likely affect where Schlottmann plays because he's also the backup center and that would take priority over guard. Jake Rodgers would be the next man up at right tackle and if Schlottmann had to play center, my guess is that fans would see the debut of rookie sixth-rounder Netane Muti at right guard.
Here's to hoping that the two other players currently self-isolating A.) don't end up testing positive and B.) aren't fellow starters like Glasgow. Based on what we're hearing from league insiders like 9NEWS' Mike Klis, the NFL is moving forward with Broncos-Chargers kicking off at 2:05 MDT on Sunday.
Despite the NFL giving the Broncos permission to practice on Friday, head coach Vic Fangio opted to err on the side of caution, canceling the day's on-field activities. The Broncos will hold virtual meetings in preparation for Week 8's divisional bout with the Chargers.