Tuesday was a big day for the NFL with the rest of the players showing up to their respective practice facilities ahead of training camp beginning. However, two players will not be a part of camp due to COVID-19 concerns.
Tight ends Cole Wick and Jason Vander Laan both have opted out of the 2020 season according to Tuesday’s transaction report. Both saw limited time on the field during the 2019 season. It might not be the last though with players having until August 3rd to decide whether they will opt out of this season or not.
When it comes to that question of if any other have opted out, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said during a Zoom conference call that he “hasn’t heard anybody that didn’t come that was expected to be here. But I haven’t actually gone through and looked at it on a line by line basis to make sure that that’s the case.”
It’s a different world in the NFL during the COVID-19 pandemic with several different protocols, including daily testing, that will need to be taken very seriously. Loomis is obviously concerned about his team’s health, but still sees something special in this team.
“I would say everyone in our building feels good about our team. And yet we also understand that each year is brand new.” Loomis said, “Because we won some games last year doesn’t mean we’re entitled to winning this year, but we feel real good about our roster, feel good about our leadership, great about our coaching staff. And so look, all the elements are there, but we’ve got to put in the work, we’ve got to put in the time, we have to find a way to focus on football and it’s right there in front of us. I would say, look, our expectations and our goal is to be successful, to go farther than we did last year and farther than we did the year before.”
One of the more interesting storylines headed into camp is how the offensive line will look with two centers on the roster in Erik McCoy and rookie Cesar Ruiz. With no rookie minicamps or OTAs, who will be getting the start is something many have wondered and according to the Saints GM, there’s a chance we see the first-rounder out of Michigan still has a chance to take that spot.
“We definitely feel like he has the ability. Coaches have had a number of meetings with the rookies over the past two months and he’s been participating in there.” Loomis quipped, “I don’t really want to spend a lot of time playing what if, can he or can’t he. We’re going to find out soon enough.”
There was a bit of good news as well with no positive tests from yesterday’s testing according to Loomis. However, the team was awaiting the tests from players that reported earlier on Tuesday.