When the various teams planned their various practice facilities, no one was thinking about the ease or difficulty to adapting those building to the realities of a pandemic. As a result, some teams are struggling to retrofit their locker rooms and other work areas to fit the NFL’s requirements.
In Atlanta, space isn’t a problem.
“We’re lucky that we’ve got a lot of space and a massive setup,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said on Wednesday’s #PFTPM podcast. “For us to be able to kind of space out and make sure we are up to code on all of the protocols, we have these kind of townhomes that we stay in during training camp that are built right behind our facility, which we’re able to use as our locker room right now. We each have our own individual bathroom and bed and changing area, and all that kind of stuff. We’re uniquely built to kind of handle this, and our staff here has done an amazing job of trying to make it safe as possible for everybody and appreciate them doing that.”
Not only does that kind of arrangement help spread the virus, but it also gives players a greater sense of confidence and peace of mind, allowing them to put more of their focus on football and less of it on worrying about possibly catching the virus at work and taking it home.
It also sounds like a perfect arrangement if/when the NFL decides to harden the team-by-team bubbles, requiring players to remain embedded with the team for the full season, in order to keep them from catching the virus somewhere else.