The coronavirus pandemic has been the gift that keeps giving. Eagles head coach, Doug Pederson, is now its most recent recipient after a positive COVID test.
Pennsylvania alone has confirmed more than 118,000 cases to date. With the start of the upcoming football season, there has been much concern over how this year will play out.
The Philadelphia Eagles began training camp on July 28. Daily COVID testing was ordered for the first two weeks for all players, coaches, and designated staff. After the first 14 days expire, testing regularity will depend on the total number of positive cases diagnosed.
On Sunday night, Doug Pederson shared with the team that he had tested positive for COVID-19 after two tests confirmed the virus. It’s believed he contracted the coronavirus outside of the NovaCare Complex, the team’s training facility.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 3, 2020
Fortunately for Pederson’s health, he remains asymptomatic; however, this leaves a great deal of uncertainty for the Eagles.
A statement was released, announcing, “Any individuals in close contact with Pederson at our facility have been notified and will continue with daily testing procedures and compliance with all protocols before returning to the facility.” Tracking devices have been in use to identify these individuals.
Reportedly, Press Taylor, passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach was in close contact with Pederson. He has tested negative but was sent home for precaution.
According to protocols that the NFL and NFLPA agreed upon, Pederson may return to the facility ten days after receiving his positive result. If he tests negative twice, he may return in five days.
If symptoms arise during his quarantine, he must refrain from any team facilities for at least ten days since the symptoms first began and three days since they last occurred.
Pederson is the second NFL head coach to test positive for the virus, but the first to do so in the season. Sean Payton, New Orleans head coach, has since recovered.
Eagles players, Lane Johnson, also tested positive for coronavirus last week. Along with Johnson, Nate Gerry and Jordan Mailata were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Planning for Pederson’s Absence
In the meantime, Pederson will remain in self-quarantine in his South Jersey home. He has began virtual training, similar to that in the off-season.
On a videoconference Monday, he stated, “I can still control, I think one of the things I’ve learned this offseason is I can still run the team virtually…”
In the interim, assistant head coach Duce Staley will take over. Staley has been assistant head coach since 2018; however, he has been on staff since 2011 and knows the team logistics well.
The challenge now will be a lack of time to organize new ideas. Fortunately, the Eagles starting line is seasoned and should have no issue with on-the-fly plays. Ten out of 11 projected offensive starters are returning to the team.
A Questionable 2020-21 Season
Since the news broke Sunday, Pederson has said that he feels “extremely safe” and is excited to move forward. He is confident in the safety protocols put into place, and very sure that the NFL season will play on.
Since July 24, when the NFL and NFLPA agreed on player safety, 45 players have chosen to opt-out of the upcoming season. Eagles wide receiver, Marquise Goodwin, was amongst them.
Eighty-four players throughout the league remain on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. For the Philadelphia Eagles, there were no other confirmed positive cases within the NovaCare Complex.
As for when Pederson will return — only time will tell. He stated, “Treat it just like players. When I’m back I’m back.”
With all preseason games now canceled, full-team practices will begin August 12. The regular season will begin a month later on September 10.
Until then, well wishes go out to Doug.