So, maybe keeping a quarterback in quarantine would have been a good idea, after all. Right, Vic Fangio? The head coach of the Denver Broncos has to figure out an emergency situation as his team takes the field today without a proper quarterback after all of the quarterbacks on their roster tested positive for Covid-19 or were high-risk contacts, making them ineligible to play within five days of the contact.
While there may have been a couple of teams to take this approach—I know that there were those who discussed doing this, I don’t know how many of them actually followed through—I can’t help but wonder if teams will begin to do it now. The New England Patriots probably thought it was bad to play without Cam Newton. Imagine playing without a quarterback.
According to reports, the Broncos intend to play practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback, who did play parts of four seasons there collegiately. He completed 133 of 251 pass attempts for 1504 yards, throwing eight touchdowns to seven interceptions.
This is, believe it or not, not entirely foreign territory for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2015, they had multiple college quarterbacks brought in during the offseason moving to wide receiver, including Devin Gardner and Tyler Murphy. Murphy would make the initial 53-man roster at wide receiver due to injury before being moved to the practice squad.
Later on during the season, when Ben Roethlisberger was injured and Mike Vick suffered an injury as well, Landry Jones started a game, and the Steelers promoted Murphy from the practice squad, dressing him as the number two quarterback. fortunately, he didn’t have to throw a pass.
Currently, Pittsburgh has four quarterbacks, with Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, and Joshua Dobbs on the 53-man roster. Devlin Hodges, the second-year player who started six games last season, is on the practice squad. They have not been quarantining him—in fact, he’s been spotted on the sidelines during games.
The fact that the league shifted to indefinite intensive protocols, which all but eliminates in-person indoor meetings, makes it much less likely that we would see an entire position group hit by the coronavirus, but as we’re seeing in Denver, things can still happen.
And there’s always the possibility of large-scale outbreaks that can bias toward one position or another. The Baltimore Ravens currently have five defensive linemen on the Reserve/Covid-19 List, as well as three offensive linemen.
The NFL has modified its Covid-19 protocols and enforcement on a near-weekly basis since the regular season began. As the risks continue to get greater with each passing week, there is growing concern about the ability to complete the season without interruption.
It might already be too late. But while an entire position group being sidelined with the virus would not delay a game, teams should be mindful of that very fact. Just because you don’t have a quarterback doesn’t mean you don’t have a game to play. So it’s in your best interests to make sure you have a quarterback under any circumstance.