In some cities, the reduction to 53 players may have decreased the overall vaccination rate. In Los Angeles, the Rams arrive at 53 with only one player who isn’t vaccinated.
Coach Sean McVay told reporters on Tuesday that 52 players are vaccinated.
“I don’t want to say who it is just out of respect, but 52 out of 53 is not bad,” McVay said.
It’s a vaccination rate of 98.1 percent.
Is McVay concerned about not having all 53 players vaccinated?
“No, because that person has done an incredible job of demonstrating all the precautionary measures that you would ask and that you would require,” McVay said. “And I’ll tell you what I’m very legitimately concerned about, is the fact that now you’re seeing guys come up with positives that are fully vaccinated, that I do trust are making smart decisions off the field. And like, I’m sure we all feel, you just want to know, ‘Alright, what can we do to implement smart, strategic procedures and processes that limit this being a factor for us?’ Because whether it’s [special-teams coordinator] Joe DeCamillis, [receivers coach] Eric Yarber, now you talk about [offensive lineman] Coleman Shelton, [punter] Johnny Hekker’s missed time, you’re talking about all guys that have been fully vaccinated and now it’s like, ‘Okay, how do we make sure that we’re understanding exactly what those things are that we can do and implement so that it doesn’t become a distraction for a football team?’ I think that’s going to be the case for the other 31 teams as well. So that’s the thing that [we are] trying to work through and it’s something that we’ve got to get figured out and I need to do a good job of getting a handle on so that you don’t have it as any sort of crutch. It won’t be an excuse for us. I can promise you that.”
McVay said that decisions made in reducing to 53 players were “definitely not” based on vaccination status. By rule, it can’t be. As a practical matter, how could it not be a factor in close cases? Unvaccinated players must be tested every single day, and they’re subject to a five-day absence of close contact with infected persons. That still doesn’t apply to vaccinated players.