ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After the Patriots reportedly saw another player test positive for COVID-19 and closed their facility on Friday, Head Coach Vic Fangio told the Broncos to continue to move forward with the expectation of playing Sunday in New England.
"We're to assume and press forward as [if] we're playing on Sunday until we're told officially otherwise," Fangio said he told his players after Friday's practice. "Our guys were good with that."
The Broncos' game against New England was previously scheduled for Oct. 11 and then postponed a day to Oct. 12. On the morning of Oct. 11, the game was shifted to Week 6.
Fangio said that after several COVID-related schedule changes, the Broncos are improving at adjusting on the fly.
"We're getting good at it," Fangio said of having to adapt to changes. "Every time it happens, we get better. Every time you get a rep at something, you get better. We've done great. Our players have been fantastic with all this stuff, but they're even getting better with it all."
Fangio said the Broncos still expect to fly to New England on Saturday, but they will adjust if needed.
"We're under the assumption and the understanding that this game's going to go off on time and anything that happens otherwise will happen when it happens," Fangio said.
The Broncos haven't played a game since Oct. 1 and had their bye week rescheduled unexpectedly when the game was postponed from Week 5 to Week 6, but Fangio said he's kept a big-picture perspective about the challenges posed by COVID-19.
In part, that perspective is shaped by his daughter's fight with the disease, from which she reportedly has since recovered. Fangio, though, has also seen people around the country and world suffer because of the indirect impacts of the pandemic.
"I know a lot of people have had their lives interrupted in a very negative way, whether it be through the illness itself, whether it be through losing their job, whether it be through having to take a pay cut. … Nobody deserves that," Fangio said. "And some small businesses — people that have worked their whole lives to establish a business — are really struggling right now. I know some small business owners from all over the country where I've been, and they're struggling. Luckily here in the NFL, so far, as players and coaches, we haven't missed any paychecks. So we're just going to keep fighting through and consider us lucky. Yes, we've been inconvenienced. There are a lot of protocols to follow. Some of them can be a little overbearing at times, but they're necessary. I think in the big picture, we've been lucky."
The Broncos are scheduled to kick off in New England at 11 a.m. MT on Sunday.