New England Patriots

Jun 5, 2019; Foxborough, MA: New England Patriots tackle Dan Skipper (72) works out with other players during mandatory minicamp at the Gillette Stadium practice field. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff,

As much as I love to watch, follow, and write or talk about the National Football League, reporting on it really isn’t my greatest strength. My people skills just aren’t on the level. That’s why I tend to rely on guys like Adam Schefter for information, and I’ll just crack my jokes and spew my theories and predictions and hopefully entertain you in the process. So I’d like to thank Schefter for affirming me as a Devastatingly Handsome Genius™ with his latest report on coronavirus in the NFL.

Ty Anderson and I have been talking regularly about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on pro football on our Sports Hub Sidelines podcast. Recently I said that, while sports leagues are going to have to assume the risks of catching or spreading the virus if anyone wants the world to get sports back, they are going to have to have contingency plans ready for when players are lost. That’s why I have suggested on multiple occasions that NFL teams will have to expand their rosters in case a player or group of players suddenly has to self-quarantine during the season.

Point goes to me. Schefter reported last Thursday that the NFL is planning two new protocols to help combat the virus. One of them is that training camps may feature 75-80 players on rosters, rather than the usual 90. But they’re also expected to expand practice squads from 10 players to 16-20 in the event of outbreaks.

Coronavirus in the NFL: The league is planning shortened training camp rosters and expanded practice squads to combat the spread of the virus. (Matt Dolloff/WBZ-FM)

The NFL is planning shortened training camp rosters and expanded practice squads to combat the spread of COVID-19. (Matt Dolloff/WBZ-FM)

From Schefty:

The NFL also is considering expanding its practice squads to 16-20 players in the event of a coronavirus outbreak; if there were one, teams would have a deeper stash of players to activate to play games.

You don’t have to be Noam Chomsky to understand that an NFL roster could be severely compromised if a group of players test positive for the virus and have to hunker down until they test negative. That’s especially true in the NFL, where the rosters are the deepest and an outbreak could wipe out a whole position group in one fell swoop. Just imagine if the Patriots’ entire wide receiver corps caught the virus at the same time. (This is where the Twitter zombies try out their incredibly original material about how that would make them better than last year.)

Unfortunately I tore my rotator cuff patting myself on the back about calling this news before it happened. That was a poor decision. But hey, we’re having fun with the podcast here and maybe a couple of dumbasses could have more insight than you think. Have a listen to the Sports Hub Sidelines below. New episode on coronavirus in the NFL and plenty of other topics will come later this week.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at