If the left guard or nickel cornerback goes down in practice or a game, every Dolphins player and coach has always known who’s up next.

But due to the global health pandemic of coronavirus, Miami has added another depth chart this season – for their coaches.

“Everyone’s got a backup,” Dolphins Coach Brian Flores said Monday. “Everyone’s got two backups. It’s something we’ve talked about. We’re taking the same approach we take with the players. If I go down, we’re doing this. If the defensive line coach goes down, we’re doing this.”

These are different times.

On Sunday, it was revealed that Eagles Coach Doug Pederson had tested positive for coronavirus. The club announced assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley will fill the void temporarily.

Patriots coaches (and former Patriots coaches like Flores) often remind players, “Do Your Job.” In reality, everyone must now be prepared to do multiple jobs.

“It’s not just the coaches and player staff, it’s our strength and conditioning coach, head trainer, head equipment guy, nutritionist,” Flores said. “You have to have a plan for everyone especially in a time like these.”

Flores, even last season, wants to prepare his players, as best he can, for any situation. If that means, for example, that special teams coach Danny Crossman or tight ends coach George Godsey or offensive coordinator Chan Gailey or running backs coach Eric Studesville were to have to fill in for him for 10 days or two weeks, they would be ready.

It also means that players are going to have to be prepared to play multiple positions.

That is always going to be the case on a Flores-coached team, but especially this season.

“We still need guys who can play multiple positions,” Flores said. “I think that’s even more important this year, in a year when we don’t know. You could lose one, two, three, a group of guys. We’re going to get other guys to step in. So tackles are playing guard. Guards are playing center. Defensive tackles will end up kicking out to defensive end. Corners playing safety, safeties playing corner.”

So perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised when offensive tackle/offensive guard Jesse Davis said recently that he’d been working some at center.

“We don’t have enough centers out there right now, so they’re like, ‘Hey, why don’t you go out there?'” Davis said. “‘Let’s see what happens.'”

EAGLES: Coach Doug Pederson says he feels great and has no symptoms after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Pederson is quarantining at home away from family members and plans to run the team virtually while assistant head coach Duce Staley handles leadership duties during training camp.

“I know this virus affects people differently and I’m respectful and mindful of that,” Pederson said in a video conference Monday. “I feel great. Energy level is high. Really no symptoms whatsoever. I’m very fortunate.”

The 52-year-old Pederson enters his fifth season as Philadelphia’s head coach. He has led the Eagles to three straight playoff appearances and the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory following the 2017 season.

“I think one of the things I’ve learned this offseason is, I can still run the team virtually,” Pederson said. “I just finished up a bunch of player meetings. Duce assumes my role in the day-to-day activities in the building. He and I talk every single morning.”

BRONCOS: Right tackle Ja’Wuan James informed Denver on Monday that he’s opting out of the 2020 season over coronavirus concerns.

The Broncos were counting on their headliner from last year’s free agent class to bounce back from a balky right knee that limited him to just three appearances in 2019 after signing what was at the time the biggest contract ever for a left tackle, $51 million over four years.

Elijah Wilkinson could be in line to fill in for James for a second straight season, although Wilkinson is still recovering from offseason foot surgery.

James tweeted that while it was a difficult decision to skip the upcoming season, it was the right one for him and his family.

“There’s just too much unknown about this virus and about plans handling it going forward,” James wrote. “My wife and I were blessed with our newborn son May 22 and he’s now my top priority. Although I worked all offseason and invested in my body to bounce back and have a great year on the field, it’s just not worth risking the health of my loved ones.

“I’ve seen this virus already hospitalize one of my family members and hope to not have that happen again,” James added. “We can’t live in fear or just confine ourselves just to our homes but we all have to make the right conscious choices and navigate through day to day life to protect our neighbors.”

RAIDERS: Defensive back D.J. Killings and defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga have chosen to opt out of the 2020 season over concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Las Vegas announced the decision Monday. They are the first two Raiders to choose to sit out this season because of the coronavirus.

Killings has spent time on practice squads in Indianapolis and Green Bay but hasn’t played in a game.

Valoaga has played 13 games for Detroit and San Francisco.

PANTHERS: Linebacker Christian Miller has informed the team he has opted out of the 2020 season because of coronavirus concerns.

Miller, a fourth-round pick in 2019 out of Alabama, played in seven games last year. He had two sacks in the victory over the Cardinals in Week 3, but injured his ankle two weeks later and played just 25 snaps the rest of the season.

Miller is the son of former Giants linebacker Corey Miller.

Miller called it an emotional decision to opt out, saying “I ultimately feel it is the right and safest decision for me and my family. I am proud to be a Panther, and I am genuinely excited about the direction we are going under coach (Matt) Rhule and his staff. I wish the entire organization nothing but the best for 2020, and I can’t wait to rejoin them again in 2021.”

Miller is the second Carolina player to opt out of the season, joining undrafted rookie linebacker Jordan Mack.

FALCONS: Atlanta signed former Cincinnati cornerback Darqueze Dennard, who adds needed experience in a young secondary.

Dennard, a first-round pick by the Bengals in 2014, has made 24 starts in 77 games. He has three interceptions, two forced fumbles and 22 passes defensed in his six seasons and started five games in 2019.

VIKINGS: Minnesota signed General Mmanager Rick Spielman to a multi-year contract extension on Monday, the latest move toward maintaining continuity among the club’s key leaders.

As they’ve done with previous deals, the Vikings matched their commitment to Spielman with theirs to head coach Mike Zimmer, who signed a three-year extension last month. Both Spielman and Zimmer had begun the final season of their contracts until gaining the extra measure of job security this summer.

Spielman was hired in 2006 as vice president of player personnel. He had his role elevated to general manager with full authority over the roster in 2012. Since that promotion, the Vikings have made the playoffs four times in eight seasons, with two NFC North titles. They are 72-54-2 over that span, the fourth-best record in the NFC.


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