The coronavirus is controlling fairly just a few features of our lives. The dearth of individuals and noise within the stands at Main League Baseball video games is definitely much less entertaining. One participant rocketed a shot into lifeless heart discipline for a three-run house run solely to listen to his personal participant’s react vocally as if it was a church softball sport. Perhaps the Atlanta Falcons ought to give a crash course of piping in crowd noise over the PA system.
The Nationwide Soccer League (NFL) has excessive hopes that their season will start on time, and finish with one other Tremendous Bowl. Whereas it has been talked about it’s nonetheless too early to inform, the times simply preserve falling off the calendar. The common season begins with the Houston Texans on the champion Kansas Metropolis Chiefs on Thursday September 10th. Then the remainder of the league kicks off that weekend together with the Cleveland Browns at Baltimore on Sunday September 13th.
That’s simply seven weeks away.
One factor the coronavirus has already modified within the NFL is your entire preseason schedule has been canceled which is able to have an effect on the underside third of each roster. Final season, the observe squad (PS) was 10 gamers. By way of the Collective Bargaining Settlement (CBA), that elevated to 12 athletes for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
There are restrictions on who precisely may be positioned on the PS. For one, a participant can solely be positioned on the PS for 2 seasons no matter which NFL membership they’re at the moment employed. The eligibility can be solely out there for gamers with out an accrued season or have performed (or have been lively) for lower than 9 video games in a single season. Starting in 2016, the PS was allowed as much as 4 veteran gamers on this checklist.
Gamers are paid a minimal of $eight,400 per week. Any PS athlete is accessible to be picked up by another NFL membership, however should be inserted onto their 53-man roster. This makes the PS gamers not solely eligible to take part in precise video games, however are paid extra per week.
A change on this virus yr is that the observe squad has been expanded from 12 gamers per membership to 16. On account of the coronavirus, the eligibility necessities of who qualifies to be added to the PS have been utterly rescinded. This implies anyone may be added at any time no matter age or tenure.
Which brings us round to the COVID QB
Historically, most NFL golf equipment solely preserve a duo of quarterbacks on their lively roster. Some golf equipment will preserve a 3rd man – often a youthful participant – however most solely preserve two.
However within the yr of the virus with weekly testing, what if a number of of your signalcallers are within the virus protocol? Who will all of the sudden be thrust underneath heart? Does this drive golf equipment to make pointless trades? How will groups undergo for a number of weeks? Will former QB’s with out employment be all of the sudden thrust into motion? All golf equipment have an “emergency quarterback” however hardly ever does this participant ever see the bottom of the middle in a stay sport.
Look no additional than the beginning of Main League Baseball. Already, Miami has half of its roster in protocol and is cancelling scheduled video games. Groups are refusing to fly to South Florida and even play the Marlins. Is that this an indicator of the way forward for the pending NFL season?
The excellent news is the NFL could have inadvertently put in a system that will assist each group.
Another change this yr to the PS guidelines is that this: 4 PS gamers may be designated as frozen to that exact group. Earlier than, any NFL membership might declare any PS participant so long as they positioned that athlete on their 53-man roster. However now, every group can “stash” 4 gamers to which no different membership can have entry to them.
So, why not stash one or two veteran quarterbacks? The plain reasoning behind this query could be due to the COVID-19 scenario and the quarantine guidelines that every group should comply with plus the quarantine ready durations.
Presently, the Browns have 4 quarterbacks in coaching camp: Baker Mayfield, Casey Keenum, Garrett Gilbert and Kevin Davidson. This yr, it could be the very best concept to have three QB’s on the lively roster always, and maybe two extra on the PS stash checklist. This could be sure that the Browns would all the time have an skilled discipline normal on the sidelines or on the prepared always.
Mayfield (6-1, 215 kilos) is the starter with 29 NFL begins. Keenum (6-1, 215 kilos) is 32 years previous and is comfortably cemented as Mayfield’s backup. He’s a seasoned veteran and is starter materials. Keenum in his ninth season and has began 64 NFL video games among the many seven groups he has been a roster member of. Davidson (6-Four, 225 kilos) is a rookie from Princeton.
Whereas with the Carolina Panthers in 2018, Gilbert (6-Four, 230 kilos) appeared in a single sport. He then turned the offensive star of the AAF developmental league earlier than signing with Cleveland in 2019. Final yr, he appeared in 5 video games and was Zero-Three on passes tossed. Veteran Drew Stanton was purported to turn into Mayfield’s backup however was injured in mid-September which regulated Gilbert as Mayfield’s substitute the rest of the season.
What’s going to occur if Mayfield is in protocol, then Keenum. Each the beginning caliber guys are now not out there to play for 2 weeks. If the Browns preserve both Gilbert or Davidson, they all of the sudden turn into the starter. What in the event that they turn into injured, or the next week are subjected to quarantine procedures as effectively? All of a sudden, all three of your quarterbacks are gone for a number of weeks.
And get this: the 2 stashed quarterbacks might be gamers that Cleveland doesn’t carry on the precise observe discipline nor do they go to the Browns’ facility. They’re gamers on the prepared that reside utterly away from the membership, the workers of the Browns, all gamers, coaches and the like; however who’re ready with the offense and extra importantly – aren’t contaminated.
This implies the Browns would all the time have a man able to go to play quarterback. And these stand-ins could be paid greater than the usual PS participant to the tune of $12,000 per week.
This can be the saving grace to the Browns 2020 season. Maybe if Mayfield and Keenum are in virus protocol for weeks and can’t swimsuit up, the COVID QB would solely present up for the Friday walk-through, then on the stadium for warm-ups.
One other concept is to not have a quarterback room in any respect this yr. An outbreak in any place room would cripple a group, particularly a very powerful place on the offense. Maybe each QB might carry out conferences by means of Zoom or Skype as a substitute of assembly stay on the facility. This doubtlessly would reduce down only one extra avenue to keep away from contact round unsuspecting virus carriers.
Who’re some COVID QB choices? Right here’s a Baker’s Dozen
The trick is to not make use of a developmental participant, however a man who has NFL expertise and may make fast changes on gameday. Sure, he must know every week’s sport plan even supposing he could by no means play. Regardless of this, isn’t that what each backup quarterback does already?
One other technique is to not essentially go after the very best free agent quarterback out there, however the very best free agent quarterback who both is aware of Kevin Stefanski’s offense already, has performed an offense that’s comparable, or is already aware of Cleveland’s offensive gamers.
1. Trevor Siemian (age 28)
Stefanski was the QB coach with the Vikings in 2018 after which turned the interim OC the identical yr. Siemian was QB Kirk Cousins backup. He didn’t have any begins, however extra importantly he was the man who must be prepared every week to come back into the sport if Cousins turned injured. This meant he not solely needed to be prepared every week however needed to examine the sport plans. Whereas with the Denver Broncos, Siemian had 24 begins and one begin final yr with the New York Jets, so he has seen the sector a lot.
2. Blake Bortles (age 28)
Bortles is a former first-round decide of the Jacksonville Jaguars and remains to be a younger man. Throughout his 5 years in Jax, he began 73 video games so the sport expertise is there. His finest completion share was in his last yr with 60.Three% earlier than signing with the Los Angeles Rams final yr. His landing to interception ratio is Three.2 to 2.7, so he makes too many errors. However, he has performed fairly a bit.
Three. Drew Stanton (age 36)
A former Brown who discovered the IR checklist final season, nevertheless, this offense shouldn’t be the identical. However Stanton is aware of many of the gamers already and particularly the offensive line. Stanton has in depth observe time with large receivers OBJ, Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, D.J. Montgomery, JoJo Naston, Taywon Taylor and Damion Ratley. Chemistry could play a giant a part of this COVID QB technique, and Stanton would fill that properly.
Four. Josh McCown (age 41)
This former Brown has age however can nonetheless play. Between 2015 to 2016, he had 11 begins with Cleveland and threw 24 Tds with 10 INTs. Altogether in his 17-year profession, he has tried 2,633 passes with 1,584 completions for 17,731 yards with 98 TDs and 82 INTs. In case you are searching for a man to stash with expertise, it’s McCown.
5. Landry Jones (age 31)
A former fourth-round decide of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was purported to be the younger buck in ready to ultimately wrestle the job away from Ben Roethlisberger, however that by no means materialized. However he has the scale (6-Four, 225 kilos) to be efficient in video games in addition to the arm power. He has solely 5 NFL begins (all with Pittsburgh) and is an efficient sport supervisor however will make loads of errors. Browns’ followers could keep in mind when Jones was the starter in an time beyond regulation win in 2016 during which he was 24-37 with 277 yards, tossed three touchdowns with only a single interception. Performed effectively in his brief stint most lately within the XFL with the Dallas Renegades earlier than the virus shut down their season. When Roethlisberger went down final yr with a season-ending harm , the Steelers tried to re-sign Jones however the inquiry was blocked by the XFL workplace.
Others to think about:
Brett Hundley (age 27)
Tom Savage (age 30)
Joe Webb (age 33)
Former Browns: Kevin Hogan (age 27), Cody Kessler (age 27), Brock Osweiler (age 29)
XFL quarterbacks: Cardale Jones (age 27), Josh Johnson (age 34)
After all, having one or two COVID QB’s would solely work if these gamers aren’t within the neighborhood of the opposite gamers in any respect, they keep in form, be taught every week’s sport plan, are sport prepared every week and most significantly – stay remoted from the remainder of the world.
And by stashing a pair of COVID QB’s as a substitute of 1, this implies you’ll all the time have a wholesome man on the prepared.
And the league wouldn’t even be concerned. The NFL has already laid the groundwork for this to turn into a actuality by permitting the 4 frozen gamers that till this yr might be snatched up at any time by any of the opposite 31 golf equipment. If two veteran QB’s are snagged, the opposite two slots might be used for important positions as effectively corresponding to a cornerback or a flexible offensive lineman.
Will a system of COVID QB’s work? This a lot we all know for sure: if each rostered quarterback contracts the illness with optimistic outcomes and are mandated to sit down out weeks at a time, the reply to that query could be a powerful: why didn’t we consider this?