Dan Quinn Preparing Atlanta Falcons For Unlimited Hypothetical COVID-19 Situations

Dave Holcomb

It has still yet to be determined if American sports will 100% return this coming fall, but whether or not the NFL season remains intact as normal is hardly the only hypothetical coaches are dealing with this summer.

What happens if everyone in a NFL team's quarterback room tests positive for COVID-19 and enters quarantine at the same time? What if a head coach and an offensive coordinator both miss two weeks because of contracting the virus? In the NFL, head coaches are paid to plan for the unexpected, but this year, the unforeseen situations are piling up. 

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said during a teleconference with the media Monday afternoon that he's spent some nights recently thinking too much about the hypotheticals, but he also wants his team prepared.

"For me, I want to go all the way through the contingencies to say, 'Ok, what does this mean if I'm out. What about Dirk (Koetter) or Raheem (Morris)? Or Ben (Kotwica) or a position coach?'"

Quinn partially answered his own hypothetical, comparing the situation to a substitute teacher stepping into the classroom at school. 

"What does that look like for us for a contingency plan? I hope we never have to enact any of those (plans), but we're going to be ready."

NFL reporter Tom Pelissero reported Monday that the NFLPA plans to test players for COVID-19 about three times a week and isolating players who test positive. Let's assume for a minute that the tests run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday -- then it's very possible NFL teams don't learn they will be without a star players until less than 48 hours prior to games.

If one of the testing days is Monday, then maybe it's even possible, depending upon the speed of the test, for teams to learn a player will miss a game just hours prior to a Monday night contest.

It sounds nearly impossible to prepare for such a situation that may never happen, but Quinn is taking it all in stride. When asked about the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans players testing positive Monday, rather than acting shocked and concerned, Quinn responded with an objective plan to use for if that happened to one of his players.

"I think all of us, we're starting to get more accustomed to hearing about it. It started in the NBA, players have had it. Football, we've had some guys who had it as well," Quinn said. "We've read it from the college side too, where a program sent home, stayed in, sheltered these guys, quarantined this group.

"I think what we're finding is it's going to be part of our programs moving forward in all sports. What we've also come to learn, when there are those outbreaks, or when somebody tests positive, what are the steps that are in place to make sure that person is getting the care that they need. Rest assured, in the NFL, NBA and college, there's an army of support to help any player at any time."

Quinn also made the point that everything could change instantly, especially once players return to the team facilities for training camp. Until that happens and he, along with his coaching staff and players, see how the NFL looks in the COVID-19 era, it's very difficult to say anything definitive.

But he did say one thing pretty definitively Monday, agreeing with Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who called the NFL COVID-19 guidelines "humanly impossible" last week.

"You have to have one hell of a locker room to fit something like that (social distancing practices) with 90 players."

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1
William B. Carver
William B. Carver

Editor

Social distancing is going to be difficult for coaches, players and staff. The world is all playing a large scale "waiting game."


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