Patriots head coach Bill Belichick checked in with the media via conference call on Thursday, one day after it was reported that Stephon Gilmore had tested positive for COVID-19 and the team had closed down their facility for Wednesday and Thursday.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding any further positive tests, Belichick said the team was taking it slow but still preparing to play Sunday's game, even if they've already lost two days of on-field preparation.
"We're preparing today like a normal Thursday," said Belichick. "We'll see what the schedule is and isn't but we're preparing for a normal Thursday [with virtual meetings]. We can't do anything from a practice standpoint rather than watch film and talk through assignments."
The biggest priority is of course the health and safety of all those on or connected to the Patriots. As Belichick pointed out, without that there isn't a team.
"There's nothing more important than the health of the team," said Belichick. "Without a healthy team, you don't have a team. That's priority number one, and I'd say not only to our team, but to their families and people that are close to them. That's always our number one concern. We try to do everything we can to make that the best we can make it. That's the way it's always been and that's not going to change."
The Patriots reportedly had no new positive tests on Thursday, a good sign that the game against the Broncos could happen. Belichick confirmed he hadn't spoken to Cam Newton in the last 24 hours but that he was present for the team's virtual meetings. Both Newton and Gilmore reportedly were showing no symptoms, meaning they could possibly return sooner than later, though there's currently not many reasons for optimism that either could dress against Denver.
"This is really more of a medical situation than a football situation so we'll work through the decisions and input from the people in the medical field," said Belichick.
The team continues to rely on the league and medical advice as they navigate their most complicated week of preparation yet. 2020 was going to provide unprecedented challenges and now the Patriots are in the thick of it, doing the best they can with the challenging circumstances.
"We knew at the beginning of the season that there would be challenges, and there have been, and we're committed to working through them, " said Belichick.