When Tom Brady moved to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after nearly two decades in New England, football changed. Despite the star quarterback approaching his mid-forties, TB12 still has one of the deadliest arms in the game. As such, the Bucs have plans to preserve the quarterback. One of these plans deals directly with the current global pandemic, too.
Bruce Arians considers Tom Brady and COVID-19
Brady has stayed remarkably healthy for a quarterback. While NFL bodies break down fast, he has only had one significant injury that cost him time off the field. When it comes to a coronavirus pandemic, however, the team has to be cautious.
Arians has considered this with his new superstar quarterback, and he spoke with Chris Long on the Green Light podcast about how he and the Buccaneers are combating the potential spread to their star quarterback.
“That’s one of the things I’ve been pondering the last two, three weeks as we set the protocols,” Arians said per Insider. “From what I’m understanding, if you test positive, you’re quarantined for two weeks … There’s so much to learn and still explore with [the novel coronavirus], but I’ve thought about keeping the third quarterback on the roster out of the room … I might have to quarantine a quarterback just in case of a quarantine.”
A quarterback being quarantined could be dire for any team. If someone like Brady had to quarantine at the wrong time while his backup, Blaine Gabbert, was recovering from an injury, the team would have to get someone from free agency. However, if the team kept a third quarterback in the mix and isolated him, they could get somebody who knew the offense and help ease the load while the team recovered.
How would this work?
The Bucs have a larger practice facility than most, which could help players distance more easily than other teams. While complications could arise from other players, the team could keep a group away from the action, so a quarterback was ready for the worst-case scenario. As of right now, the Buccaneers would have two options: Ryan Griffin and Reid Stinnett.
Griffin has been in the league since 2013. While he’s spent a good portion of his recent career starting, he began coming off the bench. Griffin knows what it takes to run an offense. Although he hasn’t had outrageous success in the NFL, his experience could be perfect for a team looking to skate by while they awaited Brady’s return.
Stinnett is coming into the NFL after playing in San Diego. While he saw a decent amount of success in college, his lack of experience and status as an undrafted quarterback could hurt his prospects when the Buccaneers are looking for a third-stringer. Still, Brady wasn’t a surefire hit, and Stinnett’s youth could be attractive for Arians and company.
Regardless, the Buccaneers and the rest of the NFL will need to think about these things as they head into an unprecedented season.
The NFL’s COVID-19 protocols
The NFL is working hard to ensure that everything is as safe as possible for everyone involved with the league. From distancing standards to how many people can be in a room at one time, the league is currently ironing out its safety protocols for a pandemic-set season. Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, is presently working on a protocol that allows the game to happen with as little risk as possible.
“Everyone is very aware there will need to be an additional ramp-up for a period of time — both at the outset for medical exams and education, then clearly as you get into physical activity, you’d have to do it step-wise,” Sills said.
Whatever happens, teams would be smart to start thinking of contingencies now. Hopefully, it will all be for nothing. But as the last few months show, one can never be too cautious. The Buccaneers are showing exactly why this is important in the current day and age.