ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Football Team, already impacted by accidents, continues so as to add gamers to the reserve/COVID-19 listing at a time when it might least afford to lose gamers.
Washington has positioned 14 gamers on the COVID listing this week — together with eight on Wednesday — bringing its complete to 18 because it prepares to play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Each groups are 6-7, with Washington holding the seventh and last playoff spot with 4 video games remaining. Coach Ron Rivera mentioned he has not heard any discussions about presumably canceling the sport.
Of these 18 gamers, 9 have been attainable starters Sunday. Washington additionally has 13 gamers on injured reserve (two gamers are on each lists), leaving the crew having to piece collectively a lineup for a sport that impacts its playoff destiny.
“We’re in conferences and one of many guys informed me another person had it, it is like, ‘This is one other one; there’s one other one,'” guard Brandon Scherff mentioned. “Like coach Rivera mentioned, ‘Subsequent man up.’ It is a huge alternative for them to point out everybody what they have.”
Washington’s energy has been its defensive position, however as of now that group is decimated. Of the highest six linemen on the energetic roster, 5 are on the COVID listing; solely sort out Daron Payne stays tremendous.
One other lineman, finish Montez Sweat, can also be on the listing however stays on injured reserve with a fractured jaw. Sweat would have performed final week had he not examined optimistic for the coronavirus. He’s eligible to return off the listing Saturday, however that might require him to then play in a sport for the primary time since Oct. 31 with out the good thing about a follow.
A number of gamers might come off the listing later this week, together with defensive ends James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill, each of whom missed Sunday’s loss to Dallas. Defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Tim Settle additionally might come off the listing. All 4 gamers should check unfavorable twice in a 48-hour span to return. A few of the affected gamers, together with Allen and Settle, had not proven signs as of Tuesday night time.
Rivera mentioned he isn’t involved for himself, regardless of the excessive variety of positives. Rivera, who battled most cancers final 12 months, had mentioned in August that he was immunocompromised and was annoyed with the tempo of his gamers getting vaccinated.
However this week he mentioned he already has obtained his booster shot and wears a masks when in a crowd or round different individuals. The present state of affairs goes nicely past what they anticipated, Rivera mentioned.
“No one anticipated this [Omicron] variant,” he mentioned. “As a result of it is spreading so shortly across the league proper now, that nearly appears like a matter of time. I do not assume anyone anticipated it to be like this. Our thought may be that guys that hadn’t gotten vaccinated may need come down with it sooner or later or one other, not that it could be a crossover.”
Rivera mentioned he didn’t know for positive that the gamers testing optimistic have the brand new variant. Fairly, he mentioned he was speculating given the speedy unfold.
Washington solely has two wholesome tight ends on the roster — Ricky Seals-Jones and rookie John Bates. Its prime nook, Kendall Fuller, will miss Sunday as a result of he was positioned on the COVID listing. Two key offensive gamers, receiver Terry McLaurin and operating again J.D. McKissic, are within the concussion protocol.
If McLaurin cannot play, his alternative, Cam Sims, probably can be unavailable as nicely. He was placed on the COVID listing Wednesday. Receiver Curtis Samuel, who has been restricted in his return the previous three video games after battling a groin harm, didn’t follow due to a hamstring concern.
“We have handled adversity all 12 months,” Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke mentioned. “We have had guys go down and step up and play; it is simply extra for this week. We’ve confidence in all our guys. It needs to be an attention-grabbing one Sunday, however I be ok with it.”
Rivera mentioned the employees focuses on instructing in the course of the walk-through classes to get new gamers caught up, though Washington ought to have 4 of its authentic 5 offensive linemen obtainable.
“You are taking each in a position physique you might have and so they all get alternatives to follow, get alternatives in conferences and walk-throughs to verify they’re introduced on top of things,” Rivera mentioned.
After which they must hope others do not check optimistic later within the week.
“I obtained vaccinated so I belief the vaccine,” mentioned rookie defensive finish Shaka Toney, who, as of now, would make his second consecutive begin Sunday. “I’ve seen guys come again quick from being vaccinated and their signs are completely regular. I will not say I am not nervous, however I belief my physique; I’ve a superb weight loss program, I obtained vaccinated; I did the booster shot. You may’t reside life with concern. I’ll observe all of the precautions and do my finest to remain obtainable.”