“Next man up” applies to coaching staffs too, so Falcons coach Dan Quinn spent some time this offseason coming up with a contingency plan.
Via the team’s official website, Quinn said that if he were to contract COVID-19 and wasn’t able to work, that assistant head coach and linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich would take over, with senior defensive assistant Bob Sutton in 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.”
The 43-year-old Ulbrich has been with the Falcons since 2015. He spent 10 years playing linebacker with the 49ers.
Already this season, two head coaches — Sean Payton of the Saints and Doug Pederson of the Eagles — have tested positive for COVID-19, but there’s a difference in an offseason or preseason setup and what would have to happen if an outbreak
“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.”
As the year progresses, the possibility that some coach might contract the virus is a real one, so having planned for such events is the kind of thing any smart coach will do.