When you hear the phrase “history repeats itself,” you usually think of some time in the distant past being relived — not last week.
Well, (recent) NFL history is repeating itself. In case you forgot, it’s hard to socially distance on the offensive line.
Giants left guard Will Hernandez has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Thursday. As a result, the organization sent players and coaches home to self-isolate. And, according to NFL media, the Giants only have four available offensive linemen who were not asked to quarantine.
Eight players and two coaches were absent from the team facility today. The 1-6 Giants are set to play Tampa Bay on Monday night.
That game is still on … for now.
If you can remember all the way back to … last week, a similar situation happened to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Last Wednesday, coach Jon Gruden announced that right tackle Trent Brown had tested positive for coronavirus and was being placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. Brown’s positive test sent the entire starting O-line unit home to quarantine, per NFL team rules.
Gruden and the Raiders were forced to practice with their backups last week and their primetime game against the Bucs was moved to an afternoon slot for fear the game could get canceled.
The game did happen, Vegas lost to the Bucs, 45-20, and four O-linemen were cleared to play at the last minute. But that list didn’t include Brown, who remains on the COVID-19 list. Vegas is hoping he’ll be back in time to play against the Browns this week.
As for the Giants, four offensive linemen is not enough to play a game. But wouldn’t it be fun to watch? (No.) Can this team shuffle positions like the NFL reschedules games? (Prolly not.) Could a defensive player or Evan Engram or someone else suit up for Big Blue? (Say a prayer for franchise QB Daniel Jones, seriously.)
I mean, the Giants offensive front is bad enough. You may ask, “How much worse can it get?” Sadly, we have the answer now.
NFL teams are required to have eight offensive lineman suit up on game days. If New York hopes to play Monday, Hernandez’s contacts can’t be considered “high risk.”
As we approach the halfway point of the season, a rescheduled game is not what the NFL wants. But as long as the virus continues to spread unchecked, and players like Jones and Saqon Barkley attend maskless social gatherings, don’t be surprised if this story continues to repeat itself week after week.