The NFL continues to deal with widespread COVID-19 fallout.
One day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league did not plan to postpone games amid a rash of cases (just fewer than 100 over from Monday-Wednesday), several more players headed to the COVID-19 reserve list. The Miami Dolphins also voluntarily entered enhanced COVID-19 protocols, joining seven other teams – the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams and Washington Football Team.
Stay here or check back often for all the latest updates on players testing positive or being added to the COVID-19 reserve list ahead of Week 15’s slate of games.
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The Los Angeles Rams’ ongoing COVID-19 woes worsened Thursday as they added nine more players to the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Linebacker Von Miller, acquired from the Denver Broncos ahead of the trade deadline, was added to the list Thursday, along with Tremayne Anchrum Jr., Antoine Brooks Jr., Bobby Evans, Jake Gervase, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Kareem Orr, Troy Reeder and Christian Rozeboom, per the Rams.
The Rams have up to 25 players on the Reserve/COVID list currently, per ESPN, including stars Odell Beckham Jr. and Jalen Ramsey.
The Miami Dolphins are coming off a bye and riding a five-game win streak entering Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, but they could be without one of their key players in wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who was added to the COVID-19 list Thursday.
Waddle joins running backs Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Phillip Lindsay as well as fellow rookie Jevon Holland on the list.
The No. 6 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, Waddle leads the Dolphins with 86 catches for 849 receiving yards this season.
The Seattle Seahawks are only a game out of the final playoff spot in the NFC, but their uphill climb to the postseason might have just gotten steeper.
The Seahawks placed wide receiver Tyler Lockett and running back Alex Collins on the COVID-19 reserve list, putting their status for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams into question.
Lockett leads the Seahawks with 62 catches for 1,023 receiving yards, while Collins has paced the rushing attack with 411 yards on the ground.
The Green Bay Packers could be without one of their key starting defenders for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Defensive tackle Kenny Clark was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Thursday. Even if vaccinated, Clark could face a difficult turnaround to be cleared in time for Sunday’s game.
Clark has helped set the tone up front for a Packers defense that ranks sixth in yards allowed per game (323.6).
The Ravens, meanwhile, placed safety Chuck Clark on the COVID-19 reserve list. His potential absence could take a toll on an already-thin Ravens secondary that is without cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters and safety DeShon Elliott.
As one cornerback returns, another could be out for the Cincinnati Bengals’ important tilt Sunday against another AFC playoff hopeful in the Denver Broncos.
Chidobe Awuzie was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list Thursday, though the team designated Trae Waynes to return this week and could see the veteran step into action.
Awuzie, a free agent signing this offseason, has been a valuable starter for the Bengals. Cincinnati’s defense ranks 29th against the pass with 256.8 yards allowed through the air per game, and the unit could be even more vulnerable if Awuzie has to sit out.
The Chicago Bears’ coaching staff has already been hit by COVID-19 this year, with head coach Matt Nagy missing a game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Now, all three coordinators for the Bears – offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defensive coordinator Sean Desai and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor – have tested positive for COVID-19, Nagy said Thursday.
Nagy did not say who would take over the coordinators’ responsibilities if they are not cleared in time for Monday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Meanwhile, the Bears placed six players – including wide receiver Allen Robinson III and safety Eddie Jackson – on the COVID-19 reserve list.
Perhaps no team in the NFL has been hit as hard by COVID-19 right now as the Washington Football Team.
On Thursday, Washington added three players – safeties Kam Curl and centers Keith Ismael and C Tyler Larsen – to the COVID-19 list, bringing the team’s total to 21 players.
Washington currently holds onto the final wild-card spot in the NFC and faces the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Adoree’ Jackson had already missed the Giants last two games with a quad injury, but now the cornerback is dealing with another concern.
Jackson tested positive for COVID-19, Giants coach Joe Judge said Thursday.
Jackson is unvaccinated, according to multiple reports, which would mean he would be ruled out for both Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys as well as next week’s contest at the Philadelphia Eagles.
He is the sixth Giants player to test positive in recent days and seventh to land on the COVID-19 reserve list. Safety Xavier McKinney was ruled a close contact, though Judge said he believed McKinney could be cleared in time for Sunday’s game.
Injuries and COVID-19 have hit the Detroit Lions secondary especially hard, but first-year Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said neither will change his approach for this week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
“This has been my motto,” Glenn said Thursday. “Everybody cashes a check, so I expect you to know what to do when you’re on the field. And that’s just what it is. In everything that we do. If you’ve been here long enough to understand our system, then we expect you to go out there and operate the way we need you to operate.”
The Lions are currently down 10 defensive backs due to either long-term injuries or a COVID outbreak that continues to ravage the secondary.
Jeff Okudah, Jerry Jacobs and A.J. Parker are on injured reserve, the first two with season-ending injuries, and Tracy Walker, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Bobby Price, Mark Gilbert, Jalen Elliott and practice squad defensive backs Nickell Robey-Coleman and Corey Ballentine are out with COVID.
The Lions placed Elliott on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday. He is the 10th Lions player and seventh defensive back to contract COVID in the past 11 days.
– Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
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