Broncos coach: virus outbreak shows who the 'whiners are'
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Vic Fangio does not want to know how the Denver Broncos are beaten up by the NFL after their game in New England was postponed for the second time on Sunday after the Patriots' fourth positive coronavirus test.
"Yes, we go up against each other like hell on Sundays to beat each other, but in the end we are all together on this," said Fangio. "It doesn't matter who is to blame or who had the positive test. We all just have to take care of it."
Fangio said he trusts the NFL's handling of virus outbreaks in New England and Nashville as the league works hand-in-hand with the players' association on COVID-19 security measures.
"In a strange way, I'm glad some of these things are happening because you see who the complainers are ... and who can't deal with adversity," added Fangio during a memorable recording of a video conference call on Sunday. "And I'll do my best to keep the Denver Broncos from falling into one of those categories."
Fangio's language has raised eyebrows before, for example last summer when the 61-year-old white head coach was criticized as deaf after claiming discrimination and racism were not an issue in the NFL. He later apologized, stating that he was just trying to convey that such illnesses usually don't permeate the NFL locker rooms or their playing fields.
On Sunday, Fangio didn't call anyone by name. But some of its players have reached out on social media to register their complaints, first when the Patriots game was postponed one day to Monday and again on Sunday when it was postponed indefinitely.
"This whole week of training isn't ideal for a non-ota injury in a high season." The defensive end Shelby Harris tweeted on Sunday, 72 hours after that shot was posted, "Why are we being punished if we haven't done anything wrong?" The pats are saying goodbye next week and we have a short week to play around the dolphins so it makes sense. "
"Man, we're not doing anything," tweeted linebacker Bradley Chubb on Sunday, and Melvin Gordon intervened: "We haven't trained all week and they canceled our game."
Fangio said he understand his players' feelings.
"But my message to them and to anyone is that we were uncomfortable with this, but it could very easily have been twisted where we had the positive tests and the Patriots were bothered by it," suggested Fangio.
"I'm glad the positive tests weren't in our building. But I have no illusions that at some point we will get a positive test or two and be the cause of a game being moved down the street."
While the NFL hasn't announced a makeup date, the game is likely to be played next weekend if the Patriots (2-2) should say goodbye and the Broncos (1-3) should host Miami. That will force more planning gymnastics for the league.
In both cases, the Broncos have a 17-day break between games and no further break for the entire season. The Patriots wouldn't be nearly as uncomfortable if they just had to turn their bye week with their game against Denver.
After meeting with his team on Sunday morning, Fangio sacked his players until Wednesday, where he will also reassess QB Drew Lock's chances of returning from a sprained right shoulder.
Despite those pace swings, Fangio said he still had confidence that the NFL will play out the season and crown a champion during the pandemic, as the NHL and the NBA and MLB have.
"What makes it harder for us compared to baseball is that we can't play doubleheaders, and we can't play nine-innings and seven-innings," said Fangio. "But we will do it."
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