Falcons New Coach Knows Who He Is And What He Wants

Jimmy Cribb/ AtlantaFalcons.com

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga.– The news that most people knew was made official on Monday, with the Falcons announcing the hiring of Dan Quinn as their new head coach. Tuesday the former Seahawks defensive coordinator had a chance to meet with the media.

Quinn comes to the Falcons with 21 years of coaching experience on the pro/college levels. He’s spent time with the Seahawks, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and San Francisco 49ers. His most notable stop on the college level was in 2011-12 as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for the Florida Gators.

The Falcons new head coach did not waste any time in praising the fans of Atlanta and also telling them they’re in for a treat of a football team to watch.

“The brand of football that we’re going to play is going to be fast and physical,” Quinn said. “We’re going to attack in every phase that we can do it. Most importantly, I would like you to know that the energy and enthusiasm you bring to the Atlanta Falcons can be unmatched in terms of the energy I will try to bring you as your head football coach.”

Over the past couple of seasons, the Falcons have struggled in certain areas of the game. Tackling has been a part of the game that fans have noticed to not be a huge strength for those teams. Quinn is looking to change that with some teaching methods he and staff used in Seattle.

“One of our goals here is that we’re going to be the best fundamental team in football,” Quinn said. “That’s a real challenge in tackling, our ability to go after the ball, and take care of it on offense. Those are going to be some of the core tenants that we’ll talk about (here).”

Quinn continues on to talk about a specific style of tackling that he brought to the Seahawks in order to promote a more consistent way to get the ball carrier to the ground, while also following the rules of the NFL.

“The rugby tackling really involves shoulder tackling and it’s a leverage tackling principle,” Quinn said. “For us not only is it safer, its more effective.”

Quinn remembers back to when player safety and the concerns for head injuries became of hot topic in the NFL, is when hitting players within the rules became a huge priority. He compares a pitcher in baseball throwing fast balls in the strike zone, to where they want to hit the ball carrier. It is in that football “strike zone.”

Over the last few weeks, players and others involved in the football World have spoken up for Quinn and what he brings to his respective teams. Players like standout defensive end Michael Bennett says that Quinn knows which buttons to push with players. He said as much in a piece by Robert Klemko for Monday Morning Quarterback on SI.com.

“He convinced me he would use me to the best of my abilities,” Bennett said. I trusted that.”

Bennett picked up 31 total tackles, with eight and a half sacks in 2013. That earned him a four-year contract extension to stay in Seattle. This year, he picked up 38 tackles and seven sacks.

When asked about building relationships with players, Quinn says that is definitely a character trait that he loves using as an asset.

“I know it’s one of the things I love most about coaching,” Quinn said. “That is being connected with these players. There’s all sorts of guys and we reach them differently. Some guys you have to put your arm around them and tell them what a good job they did. Other guys, you have to find other ways to motivate them.”

During his time in coaching, Quinn worked with current Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban when he was with the Miami Dolphins. He was also most recently with Pete Carroll in Seattle. Some would think they are two polar opposite personalities. But Quinn says they share some very key similarities.

“Both guys throw a great practice,” Quinn said. “When you went to a practice, whether it was my time at Miami with Nick or with Pete in Seattle it was very clear about how we play. What the practice was like, the style, the attitude, (and) the tempo of it. Both of them are completely true to their style. Although Pete’s style and Nick’s style may be different, both of them never wavered from it.”

Falcons fans already seem to be excited about the hiring of Quinn as their new head coach. Put quarterback Matt Ryan in the same category.

“I am excited about the hiring of Coach Quinn as our head coach,” Ryan said in quotes released by the team. “I had the chance to play against his defense in 2013 so I know how challenging and well prepared his teams are. They have had a tremendous amount of success with Coach Quinn and I look forward to meeting and working with him.”

One other thing that was learned at the Falcons press conference introducing Quinn as the new head coach, is the structure of how the team will be assembled. Owner Arthur Blank says that general manager Thomas Dimitroff will have final authority over free agency and draft picks. Assistant general manager Scott Pioli will run free agency and the draft, he’ll still report to Dimitroff. Quinn will have final authority over the 53-man and 46-man (game days) rosters and the practice squad.

Now the fun really begins, the Falcons have their head coach. Soon enough, they can get players signed, drafted, and on the field for workouts. This is when the fun really kicks up a notch.

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