Already completely decimated by COVID-19, things just went from bad to much, much worse for the Washington Football Team.
They came into Friday with 21 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and now their starting quarterback Taylor Heinicke is joining them.
This news comes after backup quarterback Kyle Allen was already placed on the COVID list earlier this week. So there’s a very good chance that Washington will have to start Kyle Shurmur on Sunday. Shumur, the son of former Eagles OC Pat Shurmur, has been on their practice squad since Sept. 13.
All this comes after the team’s initial starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, has already been on IR.
Washington on Friday is also signing Garrett Gilbert, according to ESPN. Gilbert has NFL experience but having him arrive on a Friday and play on a Sunday obviously isn’t ideal. The only other quarterback on the roster is first-year player Jordan Ta’amu.
This is obviously a huge game between two 6-7 division rivals and it has major playoff implications. But it’s very clear that Washington will be short-handed in this game even if several players are able to clear COVID protocol and return in time for Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff.
The NFL on Thursday changed up some COVID protocols, which might make it easier for some vaccinated asymptomatic players to return. But even if some players do return, they will have missed an entire week of practice and preparation.
Earlier this week, when Washington had fewer than a dozen players on the COVID list, Nick Sirianni was asked about preparing for a team in flux.
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We just have to prepare for – again, you just don't know when a guy is going to get back, so we're going to prepare -- it just puts you in a little more situation. Just like with [Terry] McLaurin. You've got to prepare for McLaurin to play. I won't get into the COVID stuff, but you have to prepare for McLaurin to play with him being in the protocol. And you've got to do the same thing with guys that have the COVID issues, as well, because you just don't want to – again, I talk about not leaving any stone unturned.
“You don't want to be like, ‘All right, McLaurin is not playing.’ You don't do the homework on him and then you get bit by it. So, I treat it the same way with the COVID stuff.”
Here’s an up-to-the-minute list of Washington players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list: QB Taylor Heinicke, DT Jonathan Allen, QB Kyle Allen, S Troy Apke, DE Will Bradley-King, S Kam Curl, LB Milo Eifler, S Darrick Forrest, CB Kendall Fuller, TE Temarrick Hemingway, LB Khaleke Hudson, DT Matt Ioannidis, C Keith Ismael, C Tyler Larsen, T Cornelius Lucas, LB David Mayo, TE Sammis Reyes, DT Tim Settle, DE James Smith-Williams, DE Montez Sweat, DE Casey Toohill.
The Eagles, meanwhile, have just two players on their COVID list: Starting WR Quez Watkins and practice squad running back Jason Huntley.
During this week, despite not having an outbreak, the Eagles have been taking more precautions to make sure one doesn’t follow. They have been masking up and spreading out their meetings.