DENVER (KDVR) – “We can’t sit here and bitch about it. We have to deal with it.”
Welcome to Training Camp 2020, a camp like we have never seen before due to COVID-19.
“How we handle it will determine our success,” Broncos President and CEO John Elway said during a virtual press conference Tuesday.
Fans have been replaced by quarantined players. Helmets have been replaced by tracking devices keeping players separated. And bottles of Gatorade for hand sanitizer. But can football work in the middle of a global pandemic?
“Sure, it worries me, but it’s about these players. Do they have a commitment away from the building?” Elway asked.
This camp won’t look like any other previous camp. Because there were no OTAs or minicamps this offseason, the beginning of camp will result in a schedule that is essentially a mash-up of those two preseason activities.
As for on the field expectations, there is optimism. The Broncos finished the season winning four of the last five games, and hope to have an answer at quarterback in Drew Lock.
Elway, however, wants to remain cautious on his young quarterback.
“[Expectations] have to be tempered. With no offseason we can’t expect him to come out firing on all cylinders. Have to deal with it,” he said,
If everything goes according to plan, the Broncos will kick off the 2020 season on Monday, Sept. 14 at home vs Tennessee Titans.
“Bottom line is we gotta win,” Elway said. “We do have veterans on the defensive side and hopefully we can rely on them as we grow as on offense”
Players have until August 3 to decide if they will opt out due to concerns from COVID-19. Defensive Tackle Kyle Peko opted out before the start of camp Tuesday. Elway supported his decision, and said he has “heard rumblings of other players on the roster” who could opt out as well.
Can the Broncos and NFL pull this off? Only time and the virus will tell.
“We will have to follow these protocols for six-to-seven months. Players, more than ever, will have to be more dedicated to the cause of what we are trying to do and that is win football games,” Elway said.