As Thursday turned into the afternoon hours for the Cleveland Browns, the huge deflation of what was to be one of the most exciting weeks in franchise history continued.
The restaurant remains closed. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is not allowed to train with his teammates outside the facility, told reporters that he has not thrown football since the final of the regular season. Cleveland’s coach of the year, Kevin Stephanie, continues to feverish the game’s scheme, which will not include him from the moment the franchise enters Pittsburgh Stadium on Sunday night. And the front office did its best, but lit prayer candles in the hope of filling in the gaps in the list created by COVID-1
And the NFL is sitting on its hands all the time because, hey, the rules aren’t made to be followed unless, in fact, the league office needs it.
This is the worst part of what is happening to this whole Cleveland situation. A team that has just designed one of the best-selling points for the NFL – that any franchise that goes back can quickly get back on track with just a few good solutions – is gradually sucking into COVID Lumberjack and the league is not. ” I’m not saying anything. ”A team source told Yahoo Sports that the only real“ breakthrough ”that Cleveland could catch at this point in the NFL is if another virus epidemic went through the list and ate enough depth chart to forced the league to push the AFC wild-card game back.This is the solution here that the NFL has tried to sell for most of the season: If your problem is competitive, not healthy and safe, then this is Yours issue. Treat it like injuries and luck.
I use the phrase “much of the season” because the truth is that the NFL is not consistent this season. You can find many fan bases that can confirm this. Some were severely fined for COVID violations, and Las Vegas Raiders was even stripped of a project selection project, but others were slapped on the wrist or nothing at all. The basis of the difference in these decisions is what the NFL decided was a reckless disregard for a desperate cry of “oops, we had an incident in the middle of a pandemic” (which is sometimes a fair assessment of how some teams were hit by COVID).
In terms of impact on the pitch, we’ve seen some franchises get the luxury of carrying their games this season, while others like the Browns have been forced to deal with the hand they’ve been given this week. Denver Broncos comes to mind after being in the single worst game of the league this season, which takes the position that it will not give the team a hooligan and will wait a few days to make sure there is a whole room for quarterback COVID positive. It wasn’t, of course, but Broncos had to play a game with a training team, making snaps from the center, which was probably not the safest game he had ever played in his life when it came to health and safety.
Like any other team in the league this season, the league office is involved in a massive trial and error season. Things would break and the NFL and its teams would do everything they could to fix them and learn. And as part of this process, training will lead to adjustments that will make teams safer, better and maintain the product to a standard befitting the richest sports league in the world. Everything that asks this question:
If the NFL has learned some lessons, why can’t it adjust on the go and apply that knowledge this week when it’s most important?
Detroit Lions should not affect the state of the Browns playoffs
Start with Stefanski, who tested positive for COVID, was isolated from the team and banned from training in the first playoff game in Cleveland in 18 years. The league adheres to this 10-day isolation decision for two reasons: consistency and competitive balance.
This sounds like it makes sense, except when you consider inconsistent maneuvers in the league’s office for most of the season, especially when it comes to playing some matches but not others – and never once entertained the idea of taking ” reset ”week (which had everything to do with television and Super Bowl planning). Now the NFL says it needs to be consistent because everyone agreed before the season that head coaches would have to stay away from their teams if their positive COVID diagnosis appeared early in the game. And, damn it, they got Detroit Lions interim coach Darrell Bevel to stay home, so they certainly wouldn’t want to go beyond that standard.
If 2020 teaches the league anything, it is that the decisions made at the end of the summer have enough room for error. Adjustments can be made, positions can be reconsidered, especially when it is a playoff. Maybe you can let the head coaches get a pass during the season and participate in day-to-day operations from home. While I certainly don’t want Stefanski to play in such an important game for the franchise, I also don’t want to see that happen to Mike Tomlin or Andy Reed or Matt Laffler or any head coach this month. And I absolutely refuse to believe that this should happen in the Super Bowl, so why should the league stick to it in the initial foray?
Don’t say that’s the case, because the Lions will be upset too. This is the Lions and it was a regular game with a temporary coach. You are talking about a franchise whose property has made such modern decisions that it has brought a victory in the playoffs in 63 years. In what world do lions deserve to dictate whether another team must have a rule in order for a head coach to participate in his team’s playoffs during a pandemic season? Especially when the NFL has already attached itself to the league’s longest service in football history, allowing the Lions to be locked in a very lucrative Thanksgiving game since 1934. The NFL owes the Lions nothing, the slightest explanation for why will not lower the coaching staff in a playoff game during the COVID season.
Why can’t the rule be adjusted for Brownsky’s Stephanie?
As for the competitive balance, Stefanski to offer at home and train the game from this point of view does not offer anything. I spoke to a handful of team sources from the league and everyone agreed that it is not much different than if Stefanski is in the skybox of the stadium. This will not interfere with side communications in any meaningful way and Stefasnki will not receive any additional information that teams cannot receive in the course of their games. This is not a problem. Steelers could, maybe be upset that the league is distorting the Cleveland rule, given that Pittsburgh got the sharp end of the stick, losing a week to the Tennessee Titans’ outburst, then a long weekend to the Baltimore Ravens. I admit that this is possible. I’ve also been around Tomlin long enough to know that he cares about the NFL coaching fraternity and loves to win games without another team being put in an awkward position. I think Tomlin will pass to Stefanski and that’s good enough for me.
To Cleveland’s credit, the Browns don’t complain about any of this. As much as he was a gun fan and drilled a hole in Commissioner Roger Goodell at every turn, the franchise shrugged. Stefanski suggests that it is a stiff upper lip and rolling with it, not an apology. The front office is just trying to do the best job it can, and not lobbying to stop or even push for a change in coaching with the COVID rule.
This is an even bigger reason to make an exception here in a long season of exceptions. If nothing was to be honest in 2020, fine, but at least be exactly where you can be. The league has the opportunity to do that. Either push the game and help the browns, or at least let them include their head coach on the day of the game. You don’t have to be perfect all the time if you’re a Goodell. You just have to make an effort when it requires it.
We are in this space. Recognize it. Do the right thing.
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