Washington now has six players on the reserve / COVID-19 roster, including All-Pro goalie Brandon Scherff, who was placed there on Saturday with reserve tackle David Sharpe. Receiver Curtis Samuel is another starter already on the roster, as is key reserve defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis.
Washington ranks second to last in terms of vaccination rates, having passed 70% of players with at least one shot. A team remains below 70%. The overall percentage of players in the NFL is 89.4, with 22 clubs above 90% and nine above 95%.
As of Saturday morning, Arizona had the most players on the reserve / COVID roster with nine. The Indianapolis Colts had four players with head coach Frank Reich.
Being on the COVID list does not mean a player has the virus. It could be based on contact tracing. But even that would cost a player five days.
As Rivera told his players after practice on Saturday, had it been the day before the opener against the Los Angeles Chargers, Scherff and Sharpe would have missed Game 2 as well as it takes place on a Thursday.
“These guys wouldn’t be eligible, so for me that brings the reality of the rules,” Rivera said, “and I hope that helps. But these young men have to make their decisions. “
For now, Rivera said, it’s difficult to fully assess various players or units with missing players. Washington wanted to use second-year lineman Saahdiq Charles on guard, for example, but with Sharpe and teammate Cornelius Lucas on the roster, the team mostly kept him on the outside.
“It’s part of the problem, to be very honest,” Rivera said. “It’s going to make things difficult, and that’s what we need to be aware of. It will make it difficult for everyone to work together, difficult for us as coaches with our evaluations and recruiters, and it will be difficult for us. the player because having free time, not really having the opportunity to work, to develop, to grow and to learn. This is the fall and this is the downside. “
Rivera said they have made appointments for some players to get shot on Sunday, which is their day off. He said he had spoken to a number of his players about their reluctance to get the shot. Rivera said he was trying to provide them with information on how the vaccine was developed.
“There’s some deep thinking on the part of some of these guys,” Rivera said. “It’s about these guys being educated and understanding because it’s right to sit down and talk to these guys and listen to them and listen to their real concerns. Some guys just don’t know, and I got an idea that there are a few that are so ingrained, so much that they aren’t going to back down. This is the part that worries me because I care about all these guys. You’re worried that someone might catch it and come home and pass it on to a family member. “
Scherff, wearing a mask and 12 feet from the media, spoke about the vaccine on Friday.
“It’s a personal decision for me; it’s a personal decision for everyone, ”he said. “No one has made a deal about it. You know we’re all here to play football and that’s what we do. “
Rivera said on Tuesday he was “more than frustrated” with the team’s slow vaccination schedule. He also said he was immunodeficient from cancer last fall.
“I think just stating that I’m immunodeficient is hopefully part of their conversation, part of their thinking process,” Rivera said.
“It’s a personal thing, but we can influence them, hopefully. “
Washington had no players on its 53-player COVID roster last regular season. Two players, Ioannidis and running back Javon Leake were on the roster, but Ioannidis was in the injured reserve and Leake was on the practice squad.