As NFL teams and players continuously search for an edge over their opponents, the novel coronavirus pandemic raises some treacherous ground. Previously, finding an edge was maybe a weakness that a player saw on tape, a cutting-edge training method or an unrelenting drive in the offseason.
Now, teams may be able to find edges simply in being able to stay healthier than others. In addition to avoiding contracting the disease, players would also remain able to play, obviously — not that it will be easy.
"How we go about our daily business is going to change," President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said Tuesday. "I think how we handle that as an organization and as a football team is going to determine in a lot of ways how much success we're going to have. We need guys to stay healthy, and this is not something that's going to go away in two weeks or a month. Obviously, we have to approach this as an organization and as a football team that we're going to have to follow these protocols for six, seven months until we figure out a vaccine.
"And also [they must] realize as players, and even as coaches, when they are away from this building, they have to be very careful with amount of people that they are around and who they are around so they don't get exposed, miss time and even bring it into the building. These players — more than ever — have to be more dedicated to the cause of what we are trying to do, and that's to win football games."
As the day-to-day leader of the team, Head Coach Vic Fangio said that trying to get everyone to pull in the same direction on this won't be easy, especially with young people. They'll still have their weekly day off and since there's no bubble a la the NBA's protocols, they will be able to spend it how they please.
"They still have to get a day off every week," Fangio said. "That's not going to change. I just think we have to appeal to their intelligence, their pride, their responsibility — that hey, this is different. You do not have the freedom that you're normally used to having. When you're not here, when you're outside of our building and our fields, you can't go to the bars, the restaurants. You can't be around people you don't know. You can't be in gatherings of too many people because there's invariably going to be people that you don't know.
"It's been talked about a lot that the NFL had the advantage in that when this started it was March and we weren't going until August or September. We were hoping that it would have cleared up by then to some degree. As we know, that hadn't totally been the case. But I do think the education of everybody has improved. I can sense in talking to many of the players all through the process that they're a lot more educated like we all are than we were back in March and April. I think all of them understand the severity of it and the consequences of if the stray too far from what they need to not do."
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9NEWS' Mike Klis provided a close inspection of the Broncos' COVID-19 precautions inside their facility, and it includes several details about meeting rooms and more. Among other things, team meetings will be held on the field in the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse, and players will sit 6 feet apart during meetings.
Will Jerry Jeudy meet the high expectations for his rookie season? Only time will tell, but ESPN's Jeff Legwold thinks Jeudy will do more than just meet expectations. "Make no mistake, he carries an enormous amount of expectations for a team with a desperate need to pump up scoring," Legwold wrote, "but while he might not reach Eddie Royal's team rookie record of 91 receptions in 2008, Jeudy will show enough in camp to be a good bet to be the third Broncos rookie to top 50 receptions -- Royal and Vance Johnson (51 catches in 1985) are the others."