As the world continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL teams must develop contingency plans for any conceivable scenario that could unfold.
In terms of importance, a backup plan in case a team's head coach tests positive is right there near the top. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson are the only two head coaches to test positive thus far, but they show that it isn't just players who are at risk of contracting the virus.
Dan Quinn and the Falcons have a plan in place if he were to test positive for COVID-19. During a press conference with local media on Friday, Quinn explained that assistant head coach and linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich would assume his duties if he were to miss time and that senior defensive assistant Bob Sutton would also have a supporting role.
"You have to talk about it, No. 1, and then even it can go down a lot of layers," Quinn said. "Jeff Ulbrich would be the one that would be able to take on that role, certainly. Bob Sutton would support him on some of the things needed from game management as well."
Ulbrich has been praised by Quinn and others during his time as linebackers coach with the Falcons, and he's had a big role in developing players such as Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell. Last season, Ulbrich was given greater responsibilities amidst the Falcons' coaching shuffle at the bye week and had a hand in Atlanta's defensive turnaround during its 6-2 finish.
Sutton has an extensive coaching history that spans nearly five decades, and he was added to the Falcons coaching staff in 2019 to help with game management.
That would be the Falcons' primary contingency plan if Quinn were the only coach to test positive. As Quinn explained, however, there are countless situations that could occur, meaning the Falcons must have a plan in place for any conceivable possibility.
"Each of them have a contingency, where you go into it," Quinn said. "What if it's multiple people? Those are the ones that you get into, because it was easy, I think, if it was one for one. And then what about if both Jeff and I [test positive]? Those are the ones where you double up."
The Atlanta Falcons have arrived for 2020 AT&T Training Camp.