As news of a coronavirus outbreak in the Miami Marlins clubhouse dominated the sports world Monday morning, the NFL world wondered what it meant for its league.
Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson, whose team reports to training camp on Tuesday, was asked about the Marlins outbreak and how he’s feeling about the start of his team’s season. He heard about the Marlins. But he feels good about the NFL’s safety protocols.
Pederson said he’s not ignoring the situation, but he has a positive feeling about the NFL starting up.
Doug Pederson feels good about NFL starting
Pederson was extremely optimistic about what will happen when his full squad reports to camp.
“It gives us hope. It gives us excitement moving forward,” Pederson said on Monday morning. “We understand the virus is real and we do everything we can in our powers to stay safe, protecting ourselves when we’re in the building, protecting our players. It’s unfortunate what has happened [with the Marlins], but we do have a lengthy set of protocols we have to abide by. This is our new normal right now, working in these conditions.”
Coaches reported back to team facilities a while ago. Pederson has seen the testing and screening that everyone with the Eagles will go through, and he said he doesn’t have concerns.
“I feel extremely safe,” Pederson said. “Obviously coming into it there might have been some skepticism about the testing and the screening that goes on, but it’s very thorough.
“This is our bubble right here at NovaCare [the Eagles’ facility]. I can’t control everything, we can’t control everything, there are probably going to be some things that come up down the road, but right now I feel extremely safe. This is a great environment for our players to succeed in.”
That doesn’t mean Pederson is ignoring the situation. He talked about making plans for what happens if there is a positive test, and that includes on the coaching staff.
“I’ve thought about that quite a bit,” Pederson said. “We’ve got to have a plan for everything.”
Pederson will have a plan for camp
Pederson can’t wait and see if there are outbreaks on his team or any other team. He needs to proceed as if camp and the season will go off as scheduled.
Training camp will be a lot different, with a three-part ramp-up phase and no preseason games. Teams are going to have to go about the next month differently than they ever have before, and Pederson said he’s planning on things like more scrimmages in camp to help replace what the team is losing without a preseason.
“I’ve got to come up with ways of having game-like situations in practice,” Pederson said. “It can definitely be done. We’ll be creative about it as a staff.”
It’s an unusual time for everyone. The Marlins news was a reminder of what could happen in any other sport, including the NFL. But for now, the Eagles and everyone else will be reporting to training camp and hoping for the season to happen as planned.
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