The Broncos have no quarterbacks today. If their game against the Saints had been played on Monday, multiple quarterbacks would have been eligible to return from the COVID-19 list. However, the league declined to delay the game by a day.
Per a league source, the Broncos tried unsuccessfully on Saturday to persuade the NFL to postpone the game until Monday night.
The attempt included a forceful effort by team president Joe Ellis, G.M. John Elway, and coach Vic Fangio to persuade the league to grant them a one-day delay. Although some have suggested that the team’s ongoing lack of an owner hurt the effort, Elway has juice; he’s on the league’s Competition Committee.
Even if Denver were run by an owner with clout, the game wasn’t moving. The league has made it clear that games won’t be delayed for competitive reasons, and that only an ongoing, uncontained outbreak (like in Baltimore) will buy time.
The objective has become: (1) COVID-19 safety; and (2) getting the games in. As long as any outbreak has ended, the games will be played — even if one of the teams has no quarterback, no offensive linemen, no whatever.
While the absence of key players (especially blockers) can enhance the physical risk to other players during games, that consideration has been abandoned — if it ever even was one. Once the league knows that it’s safe to play from the standpoint of the pandemic, football will be played with whoever is available to play.
With the exception of, as the Broncos learned, assistant coaches or other non-players.