ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos continue to separate as much as possible in hopes of stemming the COVID-19 virus that is sweeping the NFL.
More than 90 players across the league have tested positive for the virus in the past three days. Seven teams – the Rams, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Washington, Lions and Vikings – have gone to all virtual meetings.
While the Broncos have not been hit as hard as other teams in recent days, they have not been immune to the virus.
They have had 13 players, plus offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, test positive for the virus in the past seven weeks. They currently have four players in the COVID-19 protocols: Starting outside linebacker Malik Reed, backup safety P.J. Lock, backup running back Mike Boone and practice squad receiver Seth Williams.
The Broncos adjusted their setup a few weeks ago by moving offensive meetings to the spacious Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse and defensive meetings to larger rooms. Masks have also become mandatory indoors, and testing for Tier-2 staff has increased.
“We don’t have to do that, but we’ve been doing that for a good bit right now,’’ Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said on Monday. “We’ll see where it goes this next day or two. We may have to do more.”
The Broncos were among the most affected teams by the virus last season, most notably in a November game against New Orleans in which all four quarterbacks were sidelined because of COVID-19 protocols.
This year the only starters who have missed at least one game are tight end Noah Fant, left tackle Garett Bolles and Reed.
Other teams have been more adversely affected, however, including the Lions who had to call up 7 practice squad players to play in their 38-10 loss to the Broncos on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High. In all, 96 players have been placed in COVID-19 protocols with 94 testing positive.
“You notice it, obviously, and you know it can happen to you,’’ Fangio said. “It’s not just, ‘Well, that’s their problem.’ It could end up being our problem just like last year—if you remember—when we were on the wrong side of New England’s problem. We lost our bye and had our game postponed. I told the team, ‘Hey, it could come our way at some point.’ It did as you guys know.”
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