NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans’ COVID-19 cases have us in a spot where we have to do the one thing we hate as much as anemic pass-rushes and missed blitz pick-ups.

Wait.

After six days that produced nine player and nine staff cases, the Titans got no positive test results back on Monday morning. They need a clear Tuesday in order to reopen their building under stricter protocols on Wednesday.BrinkleyMH

(Beau Brinkley photo by Mark Humphrey, AP via pool.)

Between Shane Bowen’s positive coming to light and him landing in the COVID protocol on Sept. 26 and DaQuan Jones, Beau Brinkley, practice-squader Tommy Hudson and five staff members coming up positive on Tuesday there was a three-day gap.

That’s why the NFL’s willingness to push through with the Patriots-Chiefs game, rescheduled from Sunday afternoon to Monday night after a positive test for quarterback Cam Newton on Saturday is alarming, even with those who were in close contact to Newton being flown to Kansas City on a separate plane.

Both teams got no positive results back Monday.

The NFL doesn’t seem wild about the gap between exposure and positive testing, but a failure to accept it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The coronavirus doesn’t operate on the NFL’s weekly schedule and the league has a week-old example with the Titans to offer a flashing caution light about that it’s willing to disregard.NFL

New England-Kansas City is happening. Week Five’s Broncos at Patriots could well wind up in trouble if Newton shed virus on teammates and it’s just taking time for it to show up as it did for Titans after Bowen.

The league will need to be lucky again and see the Patriots not transmit it to any Chiefs the way the Titans didn’t give it to any Vikings, though there still is the possibility of positive tests for some with Minnesota with a slower incubation period.

I wrote Friday about how there is a built-in risk-reward in the league’s protocols that they simply seem willing to accept and that allowed for the Titans’ fire to get set.

It’s completely reasonable for the NFL to come investigate how the Titans operated and see if there was a break from protocols that led to their outbreak, forcing a pushback of their game against the Steelers.

Continued positive tests will keep the Titans out of their facility and could even put Week Five’s game against the Bills in Nashville in jeopardy.

No hard evidence has yet been presented that anyone did anything wrong and is to blame, but the league has done quick work to shift the biggest questions off of the protocols, and on to the Titans.

If it winds up they messed up and carelessness caused this chain of events, I’ll be the first to hammer them for it and ask the hard questions about their failure to follow procedures.

NFL and NFLPA officials arrived in Nashville on Friday and someone connected to the process was already able to tell Schefter in roughly 36 hours that, “This isn't a failure of the protocols; it is a failure to follow the protocols.”

The report indicates Bowen had contact with people with COVID-19 and failed to report it, a violation. It says the investigation is focused on Bowen and on "a potential failure by at least some to report symptoms and wear masks."

If those things are true, Bowen's been foolish, symptomatic people have done the team a giant disservice and the Titans deserve serious consequences. But did the league find all that in 36 hours? What if those things don't prove true?

I'm all about reporters reporting and getting what they can get. I'd certainly report any details I could learn.

I can also understand how the Titans must feel as they cooperate and see details drip out.

If they are ultimately cleared of wrongdoing, this stage of things will amount to the NFL redirecting attention, taking the fingers pointing at them and pointing them instead of at one of their member clubs.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

The Titans have always been a good-soldier club. They are a team that has stayed pretty quiet and seem to be doing what the league likely has asked while the NFL probably has not been as responsive to club concerns.

Mike Vrabel said it's a pandemic. A virus makes it hard to find someone to blame. He made clear, the league was not concerned about the sick guys at the start of all this. 

It is worried about getting the blame arrows properly aligned, though. The team and its fans wait on test results and reopening and schedule resumption.

The league rings a bell, so the idea nationally will be the Titans did something wrong.

Whether it turns out to be the case or not, the NFL will have protected the shield.

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