How long Isaiah Wilson will be on the COVID-19 list and takeaways from Mike Vrabel's press chat

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The changed NFL world led to a 40-minute camp-opening Zoom press conference with Mike Vrabel where the first player question came three-fourths of the way through.

Welcome to corona camp, where veteran arrivals got tested Tuesday and went home. They will test again Wednesday and Friday and only after three negatives will they join rookies, quarterbacks and players who came back from early injuries inside team headquarters.VrabelJuly2820

Among last week’s early arrivals, first-round pick Isaiah Wilson is on the COVID-reserve list, which means he either has coronavirus or has been exposed to someone who has it. His stay on the list could be as little as five to 10 days, but if he’s exhibiting symptoms it will be longer. If he were to return quickly, Day 5 and 6, for veterans anyway, are for physicals, being assigned Kinexon proximity trackers and learning about how they work and getting fitted for equipment.

As of the posting of this, he’s not yet agreed to a contract.

The other piece of notable player news is that Jayon Brown starts out on the PUP list with an unknown injury.

Much of what Vrabel discussed was the mechanics of running a camp and a facility given the restrictions set forth by the NFL to limit the chance of spreading the virus. [Unlocked]

Lockers have been separated by four-foot dividers, so players are inside what amount to small cubicles now, more safely set apart from one another. Full team and offensive and defensive meetings will be held in the team’s practice bubble with assigned seats and coaches wearing microphones that will amplify their voices through speakers.

Vrabel said he is not worried after learning details of an outbreak among the Miami Marlins but he and the Titans are always concerned about the health and safety of the team, which must abide stringently by NFL protocols and follow the plan the team put in place that was approved. Then, if the team is not happy with an outcome, it will have to be quick to adjust it.

It sounded like an NFL Sunday after a week drawing up a game plan.

I found three items especially notable.

1) To the idea of keeping a quarterback or a player separate from the rest of the team, Vrabel said it might be considered down the line but didn’t seem to be a big believer in the strategy at this early stage.

“That’s a conversation that we will obviously have to have when it gets closer to the season,” he said. “I think we’re at a time now where we have to trust the testing and the protocols that are in place and allow these guys to meet and to walk though. There are going to certainly be conversations that we have to have as it relates to players. The practice squad is bigger and there are four players that you can protect whenever you need to and take them back down. There are a lot of things with the roster that are going to be different.

“As of now there hasn’t been a conversation as far as keeping a guy away. Does that make him safer unless he’s in a true quarantine in his own house and never leaves? Is he any safer outside than he is in our building?  We can protect him here. I think it’s everybody’s responsibility as players and as coaches and as staff to make sure that we are doing everything we can as we leave here to be as responsible as we can be.”

2) He dismissed the idea that the team’s group of undrafted rookies, which the team kept in place through cuts before one defenction, has a lesser chance of finding a way to help because of the elimination of preseason games.

"We have to teach, we have to develop and then we have to inspire them,” he said. “I told them (Monday), ‘If you guys believe all this stuff about undrafted free agents aren’t going to have a chance to make NFL rosters, you guys are nuts. I mean you have an opportunity because you are sitting here.’ Everybody is working under the same rules.

“To think that one player is going to be the same player he was last year because he played in preseason games, if he hasn’t gotten any better, he’s probably not going to be any good in a practice setting either. Once we have given them tools and the confidence and the trust to go out and do their job, it’s on them to go out and take every opportunity they have during practice and the walk-throughs and give themselves every advantage to be a player that ends up making this roster.”

3) The NFL and the NFLPA agreed to a policy that restricts what players can do away from home and team facilities in the hopes that apple icon 144x144 precomposedplayers will not be tempted to go into situations where they might contract the virus and them bring it to team facilities.

“I’ve learned that you can’t control people, you have to try to influence them the best that you can,” he said. “especially you’re not going to control professional football player outside the building. I know the type of people that Jon and I and (Amy Adams Strunk) have tried to bring onto this football team. And I know that it is important to them, that their health and safety and that their family’s health and safety is important to them. So I’m always hopeful that we’re making the right decisions away from here and doing everything that can maintain the best health that we can.

Vrabel is a believer that a team cannot eliminate distractions but has to handle and manage them.

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