Falcons eye Dolphins, Bills for joint practices

Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the team has discussed having joint practices with both Miami and Buffalo, the first two opponents on the Falcons' preseason schedule.

Quinn cautioned that the decision isn't final, however, with so much uncertainty regarding the coronavirus pandemic and how it will affect the timing of teams returning to the field.

"As far as the timing regarding doing some scrimmaging [with] some other teams, the two teams that we spoke to way back in the offseason were Miami and Buffalo," Quinn said. "And so if those guidelines are in place that we're able to, we will. And then obviously if they're not, we won't."

The Falcons last held joint practices in 2014, hosting the Tennessee Titans for HBO's "Hard Knocks" and then traveling to Houston to work with the Texans.

The Falcons are scheduled to host the Dolphins between Aug. 13-17 and are scheduled to visit the Bills between Aug. 20-24.

The NFL has not provided teams with guidance at this point regarding events such as joint practices. The league is working with outside experts and the NFL Players Association to develop protocols for players returning to team facilities. The NFL then will work on procedures for training camp.

Clubs were notified to take steps to have proper protocols in place by Friday as a measure leading to the reopening of team facilities. Quinn agreed with Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin about not having any team facility open until all can open.

Although Quinn discussed the idea of the joint practices, he didn't want to get too ahead of himself regarding matters leading up to the season. Quinn said the big discussions will come from the league and that the Falcons will adhere to those guidelines.

For now, the Falcons will continue their virtual preparation for the regular season, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 13 at home against the Seattle Seahawks.

"A lot of people have been talking about what we don't know or what we're not able to do," Quinn said. "But I'd like to start today with just the opposite and fill you in or what we do know and what we have started doing.

"The virtual offseason program, we've had three weeks that we've met with the veterans. This past weekend, we actually had our rookie minicamp - virtual, some on Microsoft teams, some on Zoom. And then this week will be a week totally devoted to the rookies. The veterans have off this week from the virtual program. ... And then, beginning May 18, we'll put everybody together as one group."