As of last week, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians reportedly was considering how close he’ll be to his players. Arians has now decided that, on game days, he’ll be as close as always.
Asked by reporters on Tuesday whether he has considered coaching from the booth, Arians said this: “No. There’s no chance of me coaching from a box. Once we get a [face] shield that I like, I’ll have my mask and shield on.”
Arians turns 68 in October, and he has had three different forms of cancer. He has no concerns about his own safety, however, when it comes to the pandemic.
“I’m very comfortable with our protocols now that I’ve gotten used to the protocols,” Arians said. “We had a week of staff meetings where we went through the protocols, how to teach with a mask on and all of the things that we are going to do differently. I’m very, very comfortable with it. As far as on the field, I’ll maintain a mask and probably a shield just for personal use, and coach like I’ve always coached.”
He’s sufficiently comfortable with the protocols that he has a significant degree of faith in the ability of the Buccaneer to play all 16 regular-season games.
“I’m very confident,” Arians said. “Like I said, the protocols that are in place are extremely safe. It’s going to [take] coaches, players and staff being smart outside the building. Nobody is going to get sick over here because everybody’s got a negative test that’s in the building, so you’re going to get sick somewhere else. We’ve just got to have a lot of discipline this year and I have a lot of confidence we’ll get it done.”
Still, the 24-hour lag between test collection and test result means that a player could slip through the cracks and shed virus in the facility, on the practice field, or during a game. That’s the risk the NFL will be taking, until adequate point-of-care testing is developed.