In an unprecedented season, the Buffalo Bills have a plan should they face a similar situation at quarterback to the Denver Broncos in Week 12.
The Broncos were forced to play their Week 12 game against the New Orleans Saints without any of their quarterbacks, each of which had been put on the reserve / COVID-19 list prior to the game.
If Buffalo quarterbacks Josh Allen, Matt Barkley and quarterback Davis Webb were put on that list at the same time, the Bills would turn to rookie quarterback Jake Fromm.
In order to keep him safely away from the other quarterbacks of the Bills and to meet the protocols of the coronavirus pandemic, the selection for the fifth round has been trained separately from the team since the start of the season. It’s a decision that coach Sean McDermott made with general manager Brandon Beane, though they weren’t quick to make it.
“Sometimes you make life choices that you aren’t sure are right,” said McDermott, “and since Brandon and I made that decision, it wasn’t easy, because not only [did we] separate a player from the team, but also a rookie. And it’s hard enough to acclimate and move from college to the NFL game, and now it’s gotten a lot harder to be apart [for Fromm].
“We realized that, and Jake and our staff just did a phenomenal job and that’s honestly why we did it, and [the Denver situation] could happen to anyone. [It] can happen in any position so it’s another great lesson for us. “
Fromm does not do any physical repetitions with the team in practice. The only experience he’s had at the NFL level is the relatively few reps he did during training camp. However, Allen said he noticed that Fromm was doing “mental repetitions” himself.
“Getting a man who’s played his entire career to just say, ‘Go over and stay away from everyone,” said Allen is not an easy task. “He handled it with a lot of pride. He’s proud of his job, and it’s good to see a guy like that walk in there and do his job. He’s been a pleasure to be with, he’s grown a lot here since its inception, and he’s been great in the quarterback room. “
McDermott didn’t go into detail about what exactly Fromm does when he’s separated from the team, but he did confirm that the QB at the facility is far enough away from the other QBs that he won’t register as close contact should an outbreak occur .
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll credits Beane, McDermott, and assistant quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney for engaging Fromm throughout the process.
“”[Fromm is] somehow away from the guys. He’s working really hard to hold onto it, “said Daboll.” Not an ideal situation, but it is the situation we are in. So I think it’s Sean and Brandon trying to keep track of things. “