Quinn was tabbed as, ‘Next Great Coach,’ but can Falcons get him?

Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn could be Falcons’ next head coach. (AP photo)

Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn could be Falcons' next head coach. (AP photo)

Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn could be Falcons’ next head coach. (AP photo)

The Falcons didn’t hire Rex Ryan (who went to Buffalo but preferred the Falcons’ job) or Todd Bowles (who went to New York Jets and was never offered the Falcons’ job).

I understand the level of panic that exists in a perpetually damaged fan base. But here’s a reality check, people: The Falcons haven’t been turned down by any coach, yet, because they haven’t offered the job to any coach, yet.

As I stated in a blog Tuesday night, after Bowles agreed to a deal with the Jets, this coaching search has the potential to set up nicely for the Falcons. They can meet for a second time with Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, their apparent preferred candidate, after Sunday’s NFC title game. There’s also nothing precluding them from speaking to Quinn’s agent now and working out the parameters of a deal, even if Quinn can’t sign with the Falcons until after the Seahawks’ season is over (as early as Sunday, as late as after the Super Bowl).

If the objective for a team is to get its No. 1 candidate, nothing has been lost.

Of the other coaching openings, former Denver coach John Fox could be headed to Chicago, Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to Oakland, Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase to San Francisco and Baltimore offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to the Broncos.

If the Broncos don’t get Kubiak or keep Gase, they become players for Quinn. I don’t believe the 49ers will target Quinn because they seemingly are leaning toward an offensive minded coach to work with quarterback Colin Kaepenick. If the Fox and/or Del Rio hires fall through, Quinn also becomes a potential candidate there, but the Falcons are clearly a better job than either Chicago or Oakland.

UPDATES: The 49ers made a surprise hire, elevating defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to head coach as Jim Harbaugh’s replacement. Oakland hired Del Rio as expected. So that leaves three vacancies: The Falcons, Denver and Chicago.

If the Falcons get Quinn, all is good (assuming you believe in Quinn). If they don’t get Quinn, then there could be problems. The job would fall to Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels or another candidate.

On the chance it’s Quinn, I went back and read a Sports Illustrated story from August about the coach.

The headline on the story, written by Robert Klemko was: “The Next Great Coach.”

Immediately below the headline: “He’s obsessive in the film room, and his defense embarrassed Peyton Manning on the game’s biggest stage. But what really has Seattle coordinator Dan Quinn on the fast track is the trusting relationships he builds with players.”

Here are a few excerpts:

—>  “… Quinn had been on the job less than two months when he got on the phone with Michael Bennett, then a free agent in Tampa Bay and a former Quinn pupil. It was March 2013, and the Seahawks had signed former Lions defensive end Cliff Avril less than a day before. With so many accomplished pass rushers on the Seattle roster, Bennett was skeptical. Quinn was emphatic. ‘He convinced me he would use me to the best of my abilities. I trusted that.’ Bennett signed on for one year, and Quinn delivered. He moved (him) from end to tackle in nickel packages, and a year later the Seahawks rewarded his 8.5-sack season with a $28.5 million commitment. ‘He’s not married to a scheme; he wants you to grow,’ Bennett says of Quinn. …”

—> “… For Quinn to become the Next Big Thing in coaching, his defense had to leave no doubt in Super Bowl XLVIII against Peyton Manning. In Quinn’s mind, that meant watching two years’ worth of Manning snaps in the week after the NFC Championship Game. That’s every snap Manning had yet taken for the Denver Broncos, watched, re-watched and mentally catalogued; 1,479 throws, 967 handoffs, 131 touchdowns, 24 interceptions and more audibles than there are minutes in a day. Says a close friend of Quinn’s, ‘He’s definitely an obsessive.’ …”

—> “… (Cleveland) interviewed him once following the (2013) season, and he planned to turn down a second interview request until after the playoffs. Before the Seahawks won it all, Cleveland inked Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who led a 20th-ranked defense which broke the franchise record for sacks (57) in a 6-10 season. The Vikings brought Quinn in as a finalist and passed in favor of longtime Bengals coordinator Mike Zimmer. Pete Carroll was frustrated for Quinn, yet relieved for the Seahawks. … Quinn, on the coaching fast track, hasn’t spent longer than two seasons in a city since 2004. ‘It was a coup to get him back last year, much less this year,’ Carroll says. ‘But I don’t want to look at it that way. I want to help Dan get whatever job he wants because he’s a great coach.’ …”

Some lofty praise. Now the Falcons just need to sign him.


A recent writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— AJC: UPDATE: Bowles goes to Jets but if Falcons get Quinn it won’t matter
— AJC: Falcons should talk to John Fox before making decision on Quinn, Bowles
— AJC: Rex Ryan going to Buffalo — and that’s not bad news for Falcons
— AJC: Nick Saban, the mercenary, takes on ex-Bulldog Jonathan Taylor
— MyAJC: Falcons’ backdrop not comforting for coaching search
— AJC: Falcons’ changes: Pioli’s role increases, so what does this mean for Dimitroff?
— AJC: How’s this scenario: Falcons vs. Giants and Mike Smith’s defense in 2015?
— MyAJC: Smoltz just wanted to survive, but he did so much more
— AJC John Smoltz, a Hall of Famer on many levels, gets the call
— AJC: Hall of Fame: Smoltz, 7 others checked on my ballot
— AJC: ROSE BOWL: Oregon mocks FSU, Winston with “No means No” chant
— MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: After 29 straight wins, Florida State morphs into grease fire
— MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: Is FSU most hated great team in college history?
— AJC: ROSE BOWL: Oregon’s Helfrich credits Falcons’ Koetter for his success
— MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: Will Jameis Winston prove to be worth risk in NFL?
— MyAJC: It’s Arthur Blank’s show now, and that could be a problem?
— AJC: Falcons fire Smith, keep Dimitroff, and here are some candidates
— MyAJC: Falcons are done and so is Mike Smith

Reader Comments 0

64 comments
Mery Eva
Mery Eva

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gfw
gfw

Lining up the supporting cast of coordinators and coaches without any input from the putative head coach is a typical Dimitroff move.  He thinks he knows everything.  In reality, he knows little.  Events may prove me wrong, but I have serious doubts Quinn will agree to work for Dimitroff.


Aztec
Aztec

Quinn is a never was with training wheels.  He will have to learn the HC job.  I was hoping for a Shanahan who is a proven winner.  Coaches are like rookie QB's who the fans have never seen throw an interception.  They have never seen the new guy screw up s game.  Believe me, there will be a lot of that while the new man learns to be an HC.  Blank is an owner with training wheels making the same mistakes the Smiths did.

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@Aztec We've seen Mike Shanahan screw up enough games to know that he's not the answer to whatever questions Arthur Blank is asking.

EricEllis
EricEllis

Why is there so much hype about this Quinn guy?  What has he done?  As far as I know, the Seattle defense was a product of Bradly who works for Jax now (and that's not a very encouraging thought either).  Quinn just stepped in after Bradley got hired and now all the sudden people act like he is the reason Seattle won the SB!  I'd take one of the HC retreads like Kubiak or Shannahan over any of these no name coordinators...

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@EricEllis How would you feel about a retread like Dan Henning, Wade Phillips, or Ray Goff?

diegoblanco
diegoblanco

MCDaniels is staying in New England....trust me...He got a good gig there.  Has anyone thought about Jim Swartz?  Great Defensive mind which we need....He can hire an OC to help Matty....But they really need to concentrate on getting the defense together

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@diegoblanco Interestingly, Schwartz is not a name that we've heard in connection with the Atlanta Falcons' search. I agree that he is probably worth at least a look for this vacancy.

DanJohn
DanJohn

@peanutgallery  Hopefully they can get a deal done next week when they can talk to him again. Now I really hope Green Bay beats Seattle so he can sign it.

AshleyHarris
AshleyHarris

I say hire ROB RYAN if for nothing else than the economic boom to local area restaurants. Seriously folks as long as they hire a defensive minded coach in plenty of time before the combines I am ok with that! I wouldn't mind if we were to swoop in and make a play for Jack Del Rio before he signs on the dotted line with Oakland!

SOB
SOB

@AshleyHarris Bring Mike Smith back into town? Del Rio wants Smith as his defensive line coach. Please, no.

AshleyHarris
AshleyHarris

@SOB @AshleyHarris Whatever JDR thinks is best I'm good with that-how much damage could Mike Smith do as a position coach anyway? I would think that Smith would decline that offer!

csamuels45
csamuels45

Atlanta always make  Wrong choices when they make quick choices..We will know whether it is Quinn or Austin by today end

peanutgallery
peanutgallery

Signing Austin would be a mistake at this point. The Falcons have waited this long. Don't chicken out.

96JB
96JB

Reports are surfacing that the Falcons will " settle" for Teryl Austin from the Lions, As all the first choices are gone. Quinn ain't coming and until Blank fires the front office, hires a real GM and HE get's out of the way, will be doing this again in 3 years.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Three, maybe four serviceable DTs. Not great, but serviceable. A pair of young and still learning CBs, one of whom is coming off of knee surgery. DEs, S, LBs all free agent quality except for 'Spoon who can't stay healthy. On offense, a good young LT, a good young center who fell into your lap, two very good WRs, one of whom is becoming old and a good if immobile QB.

Folks, the clock management fiasco notwithstanding, it wasn't Smitty it was TD. Lombardi couldn't win with this roster.

680 had a fascinating story this morning on the interview processes Blank and co are putting the candidates through. Blank, Dimitroff, Pioli, McKay and some female VP from Artie's foundation all in the room? What could all of those people possibly have to say to the candidate? What must the candidate think about that circus? McKay apparently ragging on the personnel during the interview.....while Dimitroff sits across the table.

Arthur has panicked and is trying to find stability by adding layers of management. Just the opposite is happening.

Again I'll say, if Dimitroff is not hiring the coach, and he's not running the draft or free agency then why is he around?

didyou
didyou

@patriotdog Dimitroff is running the Draft and FA. Pioli is heading up the pro and college scouting staff and reporting to Dimitroff who in concert with the new HC (Quinn) will draft and acquire players beginning with a pass rusher with the 8th pick and through FA. 36 million under the cap and no Smith or Nolan begging for interior Dline this will turn in a hurry. Quinn told a friend of mine that works for the Seahawks that he would love to work with Dimitroff and called him one of the best evaluators in football. So obviously he doesn't know what he's talking about if you believe some of the bloggers on this site. 

Eugene Jones
Eugene Jones

I am scared that the Falcons are wating for Josh McDaniels and we try to become New Englad South.. We need a defensive coach like Quinn and we need to clean out the Front Office and start selecting GROWN MEN.. If McDaniels comes here. We will get more small linemen and more slow running backs and more passive football!!!!!

Intruder
Intruder

Mike Smith nor Mark Richt were/are game day coaches, but are just delegators and rely almost exclusively on their coordinators, ( and how many have they gone through?) unlike Belichick, Payton, and others. Hopefully, if it is Quinn, he will be able to do something on his own except stand on the sideline looking lost.

MannyIcey
MannyIcey

This is the problem: I would take Mike Smith over Dan Quinn, McDaniels or even Austin. The coaching situation isn't getting better. At best, you pray for the same. I'm extremely disappointed because I thought that we were going to get an established head coach to come out of this. All I am seeing are people that if you were to trade, I would have NEVER gotten rid of Smitty!


This new stadium is shaping up to be a very lonely place.

GloryBetweenTheHedges
GloryBetweenTheHedges

@MannyIcey I'll give Manny this much...Unless it is Quinn I probably would say Mike Smith is better than any other option left.

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

Quinn sounds worth the wait. If they miss on him and Peyton retires, then hire him. He's been coaching his entire pro career.

peanutgallery
peanutgallery

Can people stop saying "let's get Quinn but OH MY GOD WE NEED TO HIRE SOMEONE RIGHT NOW!"?


Quinn CANNOT be hired until the Seahawks either win the Super Bowl or are out of the playoffs. So if Quinn is the best candidate out there and you want him then you have to be PATIENT.



ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

I wouldn't be at all shocked to see Blank keep tap dancing around and miss again on Quinn and possibly Austin too.  If those 2 guys go elsewhere, that'll mean he'll end up hiring a +urd like McDaniels.

Btown3
Btown3

I concur with everyone regarding Quinn. He has better talent in Seattle. We don't have any pass rushers. We don't have an elite cornerback or Safety. Our cornerbacks and safety are average. We don't have good linebackers. Our linebackers can't tackle nor cover. So how can a Defensive coach without any head coaching experience fix this. We lost out on Ryan and Bowles. My suggestion is Jim Schwartz, the previous coach of the Detroit Lion, and the former defensive coach of the Buffalo Bills. He has experience and defense played well in Buffalo. His defense was good in Detroit, but they had an inconsistent quarterback, and the defense was young making bad mistakes. (SUH) He can bring in Jim Haslett as defensive Coordinator, and Marc Treastman as Offensive Coordinator. If not Jim, flip it, and hire Jim Haslett. These guys are just like Quinn, but they were head coaches.

The FALCONS organization are confused, and so are the fans. We don't know what's coming. Still disappointed with not hiring REX or Bowles. Sad, sad, sad.

CouchPotato
CouchPotato

@Btown3  Excuse me?  We don't have an elite CB?  Trufant would be elite on any team with a decent pass rush.  You try covering a WR for 4-6 seconds.... no CB can do that

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@CouchPotato @Btown3 yeah dumb comment, Trufant at CB, Willy Mo at SS are both talents... just getting rid of DeCoud made the secondary better.  The problem is Dline and LB

SeanLB
SeanLB

@Btown3 One could also argue that there was a lot of 3-5 rd picks that became superstars on the Seattle D.  Did he not have a hand in developing those guys?  Just something to think about.  

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Btown3 

You know that Seattle's DBs were drafted in the 5th and 6th rounds, right?  And Chancellor at safety was a 5th rounder.

SeanLB
SeanLB

He had incredible talent in Seattle, but a lot of those players have flourished due to a great SYSTEM, as well.


Give him a shot.  I believe that his resume speaks for itself.  


But let's make a coaching hire, darn it.  This is sad watching all of the coaches get snapped up.  I don't want to be left with a lame duck for the entirety of next season.  Hire this guy and let's go. 

csamuels45
csamuels45

We will fine out today whether it is Quinn or Austin. With Quinn is he calling the defense or is it Gus Bradely Defense. This was the same situation in Jacksonville with Smith. Whether he was calling the Defense or was it Jack D calling it? Can any of us answer this Quinn on a honest tip???. Austin turned around Loins Defense. He did it and he will become Atlanta Falcons First Black Head Coach sometime today if not, we got another Smith in Quinn. I am sorry but just examine this yourselfs. Seattle is winning because of QB and Bradley blueprint Defense. We will see Smith all over again you watch with Quinn as head coach.

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

@csamuels45 I would say that Seattle's QB is a product of that defense and the running game.  The game does not rest on Wilson's shoulders.

EricEllis
EricEllis

@csamuels45 Did you say the Seahawks are winning BECAUSE of Wilson????  That has to be a joke right?  Wilson wouldn't be able to win on ANY other team than Seattle's because of their defense.  He is the definition of a mediocre QB (unless you are looking for 150 yards a game and a TD)...

JSSN
JSSN

@csamuels45

Every time Russell Wilson has been asked to make plays for the Seahawks with the exception of the Hail Mary in the GA Dome, he's answered the call. You can try to put all of the good fortune the Hawks have encountered on the defense. Denver completely shut down Seattle's running attack last Super Bowl except in goal line situation. But Wilson is a big game assassin, the 2nd half of the Super Bowl proved it. I agree, that is Bradley's defense fully implemented by Quinn (they were 3 or 4 pieces short in 2012). Dan Quinn is not my issue, he's had better influences than Smith ever had. 

The problem still rests in the roster builders. 

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

I think they got a chance to get Quinn, If so, Quinn has been operating with at least four potential hall-of famers on defense plus an array of good players. this won't be the case in A-town. So it would be interesting to see who stays and who goes. Somebody will have to come in and cut the fat.

Jmonty
Jmonty

Hiring another first time head coach to me, is a horrible idea.  Petrino... How did that work out?  Mora...  how did that work?  Smith... Started well enough, but lacked the head coaching experience and clock management.  So... You really want to hire yet another first term head coach??  Why????  That's my question.  

Jmonty
Jmonty

@BFoxy @Jmonty Very few were successful on their first try.  Sure... We COULD... Key word COULD find that one.  However; given Blank's history and Dimitroff, I highly doubt that will happen.

BFoxy
BFoxy

@Jmonty The best head coaches in history... were a first year head coach at some point.

didyou
didyou

@Jmonty @BFoxy Dimitroffs first hire wasn't awful as a first-timer. This organization was a disaster when they came in and Smith went 20 games over .500. Although he couldn't win playoff games he made us relevant and gave us a chance. 165 coaches were fired during his tenure.

EricEllis
EricEllis

@didyou @Jmonty @BFoxy Agreed.  Smith was a fantastic hire in 2008 and brought the Falcons back from the utter scrap heap in amazing fashion.  He is a great coach and the reason the Falcons turned around so quickly (well, him and Ryan).  He just wasn't able to get to the next level.  That's why we needed someone like Rex who could've have benefitted immensely from the solid foundation Smitty built here in Atlanta.  Unfortunately we will now get stuck with some no-name coordinator who won't be able to get us to the next level (shoulda just stuck with Smitty another year and seen if there were any other decent candidates next year in that case)...

EKlass
EKlass

None of these candidates would be successful without the players they had to work with and they each have the potential to rebuild this gawd forsaken defense.  The key is who they bring in as OC.  Who couldn't win with the Seattle defensive personnel? 

SOB
SOB

@EKlass Agree about the OC. I would hope he would ask himself which OC in this league would I most fear as a DC. That guy would be your man.

EKlass
EKlass

@SOB People need to stop making Quinn out to be better than Bowles, Austin.  I'm just saying he has been successful with the talent provided.  He hasn't won anything as a HC.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@EKlass 

"Who couldn't win with Seattle's defensive personnel?"

You do realize that Seattle's starting DL includes 2 UFA's right?  Their defensive back field has 2 5th rounders and a 6th rounder. 

Seattle's D is good - but their coaches know how to recognize, develop and use talent.

notPlanB
notPlanB

@EKlass @SOB      It is difficult to win as a HC if you have never been one.