The significance of the quarterback position to the game of football cannot be overstated. It is the position that drives the game. Generally, a team is only able to go so far as its talent level under center is able to take them, representing a sort of ceiling that they can reach. If you don’t have a championship-caliber quarterback, you’re almost surely not going to win, but you can do that with just about any other position.
That makes for an interesting discussion about what to do during a pandemic. Earlier this season, Mike Florio floated out the idea that teams might consider keeping a quarterback in quarantine, isolated from others, because if your quarterback is exposed to the coronavirus, the protocols dictate that he be taken off the field.
While his original post on the topic was largely met with derision, he got a nibble on the line yesterday courtesy of Bruce Arians, the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While appearing on Chris Long’s podcast, he confirmed that he has indeed given thought to the idea of keeping a quarterback in quarantine. The transcription below comes from Pro Football Talk:
Yeah, that’s one of the things I’ve been pondering the last two or three weeks as we set the protocols. From what I’m understanding is if you test positive, you get quarantined for two weeks. Now, if you have no symptoms, I don’t know what that means. Is it a false one? 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. We have two guys that have been in our system, really sharp. So, I might have to quarantine a quarterback just in case of a quarantine.
In the case of the Pittsburgh Steelers, this would mean that Devlin Hodges or Paxton Lynch, whoever ends up winning the role of the number three quarterback, could be kept separate from the rest of the team, at least in some phases of training, in the even that they run into a situation in which both Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph are exposed to the virus and will be unavailable to play.
This will surely sound like overkill to a lot of people, but it is realistic. The NFL cannot afford to allow infected players to be on the field. The World Health Organization reaffirmed recently that pre-symptomatic cases absolutely are spreading the virus.
Meanwhile, more than half of the states in the country have been found to be not following CDC guidelines about reporting cases, meaning that their numbers are being underreported. At least 19 states are seeing cases and/or hospitalizations rise, while Arizona has instructed hospitals to activate emergency plans, with ICU bed occupancy reaching 76 percent.