“An Opportunity of a Lifetime”
The expression “good is the enemy of great may have started with Dan Quinn” said Arthur Blank in his introductory remarks of the Dan Quinn press conference. Mr. Blank described the process that the Falcons undertook in their coaching search and went out of his way to go over again the quixotic structure that he’s put in place at the front office level. He noted that 10 other NFL clubs are structured that way, 8 of them that have hired new coaches since 2010. Blank said it was a “current trend” several times, seeming to go out of his way to defend the new dynamic.
“So Fired Up to Be Here with You Guys Today”
Quinn started by thanking Blank, Rich McKay, Thomas Dimitroff, and everyone in the organization for having the patience to wait for their Super Bowl run to end and that he knows that’s not an easy thing to do. “I can’t wait to build a similar championship environment here in Atlanta.” After all the nice introductions and thanks to Pete Carroll, John Schneider, the fans in Seattle, his agent and his wife, he immediately gave Falcons fans some red meat.
“Brand of Football We’ll Play will be Fast and Physical”
The new Falcons head coach talked about how he knew how passionate the fanbase were here in Atlanta and gave the fans exactly what they wanted. “We’re going to attack in every phase of the game and the passion and energy you bring can be unmatched to the energy I bring in terms of being your head football coach.” He mentioned there being a lot of challenges and hard work ahead, but that he can’t wait to get started.
Q & A Session
Interview Process During Playoff Run
The new Falcons ball coach was asked how the process of being in the playoffs and being interviewed as and he responded by saying that he was lucky enough to interview with several teams, but he told his wife Stacey that night that if everything worked out that this was the place he wanted to be.
While most would assume this is lip service and “everyone says that afterwards,” this really does seem to have some value to it because there was word very early on that Quinn topped the Falcons wishlist and he preferred the Falcons.
“Goal to be Best Fundamental Team in Football”
The former Seahawks coach said that it will be a major challenge to become fundamentally sound, but that he plans on bringing rugby tackling to Atlanta, which is leverage, shoulder tackling. While Mike Smith talked a lot about the same thing, Quinn proved that his team was arguably the best at tackling in the NFL. Quinn mentioned that not only is rugby tackling “safer, but it’s also more effective.” Some said that the rugby style would take the physicality out of tackling. He vehemently disagreed and said we’re going to hit “as hard as we possibly can in the strike zone.”
Definitive Plan for Building a Defense
Effort first. Very aggressive on the way we attack the football. Play as fast and physical as we can. Looking forward to getting to know all the players as good as we can and use them to their strengths as much as possible (a tenet of Pete Carroll’s philosophy). He also plans on keeping an active role in calling plays on defense.
Why Atlanta, Why Now? >> “Leadership Challenge”
Quinn talked of the increasing leadership challenge that comes with moving up the ranks from position coach to coordinator and taking on the role of being a head coach, running a team in your style and vision. He said that this was the “best fit” for him and that the support of Mr. Blank was very enticing. He also went out of his way to mention how excited he was to work with Thomas Dimitroff and how he “connected with him right away and wanted to partner with” and that he saw that relationship work strongly in Seattle with Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider. He didn’t specifically that he would be calling plays on defense and that he hadn’t gotten to that point as of yet. He said he was starting to look at personnel as soon as tonight and that was superior to discussing any sort of scheme at that point in time.
Connecting and “Learning the Players the Best”
He said it would likely take all spring for him to get to know the players as best as possible and into OTA’s and would “feature them the best.” He mentioned several times about learning the players as good as possible and getting to know them. That is one of Carroll’s paramount strengths as head coach, being able to connect and relate with his player’s and thus building strong and trusting relationships with them…. a cornerstone of all great leaders.
Biggest Challenge for You
Quinn’s response was getting to know his players as good as he possibly could and develop a close-knit team and that in his experience, the teams that were the closest always played the best. He also spoke of looking forward to the “challenges” and that’s what he enjoyed the most.
My Kind of Football Player: Fast and Physical
The Salisbury State product talked about his “type of football player” was one who played fast and physical and that the attitude they played with would begin with effort first. “There’s some terrific guys here that he can’t wait to connect with” and that playing great, fundamental football begins with a mindset and attitude.
Major Roster Churn?
Steak Shapiro of 680 mentioned that Pete Carroll did a huge roster churn upon taking over the Seahawks (something like 100 transactions) and asked if Quinn would be looking to do the same thing if he needed. Quinn responded “not necessarily. At every opportunity we’re going to compete, but that the first order of business is to evaluate our own team.”
How Far Away is this Team?
Quinn did a perfect pivot on this question after it was brought up about the Falcons being in the NFC Championship Game two years ago. He said he didn’t want to get too far ahead and that he only cared about how “good can we be right now” and how could he help each player have the best off-season they’ve had of their careers and the best off-season “we’ve ever had.”
He spoke of teams that showed balance were always the toughest to defend and he specifically discussed a zone blocking running scheme with a vertical passing offense. He talked about finding many ways to attack and that with all the pieces in place it will be “terrific fit.”
Attacking the Offense – Affecting the Quarterback
This may not be music to some fans ears, but Quinn said the most important facet of pressuring the offense was “affecting the quarterback,” something that fans have heard many times before. He said pressuring the QB, knocking them off the spot, and sacks were all intertwined to affecting the quarterback and that versatility was a huge component in what he was looking for in a player in being able to play many positions and have multiple pass rushers, because injuries will occur.
Quinn and Dimitroff – Common Vision and Beliefs?
Quinn mentioned that he and Dimitroff’s beliefs and vision lined up really quickly in the process and spoke very highly of wanting to work with him. When asked on the subject of the front office structure, he quickly positioned how excited he was to partner with Dimitroff. While this could be great acting and lip service, it seemed extremely genuine coming from Quinn.
On Speaking to the Players…….
Accountabiltiy. Competition. Finding a competitive edge. Toughness and real style and attitude first and the way they play with all the way through.