It's been an interesting week for the Patriots when it relates to COVID-19 and the protocols the NFL has put into place.
Last weekend, Cam Newton tested positive, but the league just pushed the game back a day and made the Patriots travel to Kansas City on Monday, play the Chiefs at night and then travel back after the game. After two more positive tests -- Stephon Gilmore and Bill Murray -- the Gillette Stadium facility was shut down for three days.
The team returned Saturday and had Sunday's game moved to Monday, so now it will only have one real practice before playing Monday night.
Speaking via video conference Saturday, defensive captain Jason McCourty had a strong message relating to the NFL and the NFLPA.
"Between the players, the coaches, the administration, the staff, it is up to us to take care of one another, to make sure physically we are all set, make sure mentally, because I think outside of here the people that don’t have to walk in our building — whether it is the league office, whether it is the NFLPA — they don’t care," he said. "We’re trying to get games played and we’re trying to get the season going. For them, it is not about our best interest, or our healthy and safety, it is about what can we make protocol-wise that sounds good, looks good and how can we go out there and play games.
"I think what I kind of learned personally throughout this situation is it is going to be up to us as individuals in this building to just really take care of one another."
One of the bigger issues is the incubation period, but yet the league asked the Patriots to get on a plane and fly to Kansas City just two days after Newton's positive test.
"If you get a chance to talk to the NFL or the NFLPA, I’d greatly appreciate you bringing up that point and letting them know," McCourty said. "That’s something we talk about, and we are dealing with it. We’re moving forward and it’s obviously in the back of our mind. That’s why we’re just trying to do everything we can – we’re distanced. Even today while we were in, we’re totally distanced, we all have masks on, we all have the Oakley shields on, and we have a mask on underneath our helmet. We weren’t in the building, really, at all today. So we’re doing the necessary things to stay as safe as possible. I guess that’s the best answer I can give you. But without a doubt, that’s a thought – the same way you guys are sitting there thinking about it, like ‘Hey, they’re getting on a plane on Monday [to go to Kansas City], well, those days don’t really add up with the incubation period.’
"That was the same question we were asking our union before we head out there. But you guys saw, we took off, we played in the game, and we came back. As players, we are trying to control what we can control and at the same time – especially me, and I know Dev [Devin McCourty] and Slate [Matthew Slater] as older guys – we’re trying to continue to push the envelope and hold everyone accountable and make sure they have our best interest at heart.”
The Patriots will host Denver Monday night at 5:02 p.m.