Falcons need players but Dan Quinn right choice to lead them

Noteworthy: Dan Quinn has less hair than at least one Atlanta media member pictured. (Getty Images)

Noteworthy: Dan Quinn has less hair than at least one Atlanta media member pictured. (Getty Images)

Noteworthy: Dan Quinn has less hair than at least one Atlanta media member pictured. (Getty Images)

The final quarter of Sunday’s Super Bowl won’t go down as a highlight of Dan Quinn’s tenure as Seattle’s defensive coordinator. But everything else suggests the Falcons have made the right choice for their next head coach.

Quinn officially will be named the Falcons’ head coach Monday after agreeing to a five-year contract, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter. The agreement comes the day after the Seahawks lost to New England in the Super Bowl Sunday.

Quinn’s hiring had been apparent for the past three weeks. The Falcons passed on other candidates because they believed he was Quinn was the best choice to revive a franchise that has missed the playoffs and gone 10-22 in the last two seasons and ranked among the worst defenses in the league (27th and 32nd). Team officials were willing to wait for Quinn, even after Seattle defeated Green Bay for the NFC title, ensuring the the Falcons would have to wait at least two more weeks to hire him following the Super Bowl.

Owner Arthur Blank ultimately made the decision to hire Quinn. But others in the organization also had him atop their list. If the Falcons believed a few weeks ago they were not going to get Quinn, they likely would have opted for Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles (later hired by the New York Jets), Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin or former Jets coach Rex Ryan (hired by Buffalo).

It’s believed New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was the fifth choice, even though he is close with general manager Thomas Dimitroff and assistant GM Scott Pioli.

Quinn is expected to have final say on the 53-man roster.

Seattle had the best defense in the NFL for the second straight season. He comes to a team that had the 32nd ranked defense, which says less about the coaching of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and former coach Mike Smith than it does the personnel on the roster and the flawed attempts to create a pass rush with no legitimate pass rushers.

Can Quinn have an immediate impact? He thinks so. When I asked him last week whether, all things being equal with personnel, a new head coach can significantly improve a team, he responded: “You see it around the league each year that guys can have an impact right away. There’s so much more that goes into it than just coaching. Connecting with players. Defense is where my background lies, but the head coach orchestrates a bit of everything. The head coach is really where we get the vibe thing.”

Here’s the good news for Quinn: Tom Brady and New England aren’t on the Falcons’ schedule next season.

Brady was intercepted twice but threw four touchdown passes in the Patriots come-from-behind 28-24 win over Seattle Sunday. He completed 13 of 15 passes in the fourth quarter, two of those for scores. In Quinn’s defense: 1) Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time; 2) The Seahawks’ defense started three injured players in the secondary and lost two key players during the game, nickel cornerback Jeremy Lane (broken forearm) and defensive end Cliff Avril (concussion).

Tharold Simon, Lane’s replacement, was burned often in coverage, and Seattle struggled to get a pass rush late on Brady, at least in part from losing Avril.

Quinn’s philosophy is to use only a handful of defensive plays. That’s easier to do when a team is talented. Nolan felt he had to resort to smoke-and-mirrors. But Quinn said the other day that the simplicity of Seattle’s scheme, “allows you to be kind of be freed up, mentally. It allows you to even play faster. There’s not another check. There’s not another alert. We think you’re able to play even faster when you don’t do as many schemes. For us, one of things we say is it’s not what we play or what we call, it’s how we play it.”

New coaches come with no guarantees, and Quinn never has been a head coach before. But he was universally liked and respected by his players and there’s no reason to believe he can’t make the jump.

Here’s a few comments from some Seahawks’ defenders in the days leading up to the game. I’ll have more about Quinn Tuesday, when the Falcons hold an introductory news conference.

— Safety Kam Chancellor on Quinn’s role in the defense’s consistency (Sunday notwithstanding): “If your d-coordinator is being consistent with who he is and what he brings to the defense, then the guys that are under him, that follow him, are going to be consistent. We get nothing but realness from D.Q. We get himself, we get his heart. When we hear it, we feel it. You have no choice but to be consistent if you’re following a leader like that.”

— Linebacker K.J. Wright on whether Quinn’s ready to be a head coach: “No doubt. I thought he was going to leave last year with how good he was. Being able to put two No. 1 defenses together, that’s special. Most teams need a defensive-minded coach because defense is what wins you football games and what wins championships. He can bring a nice presence to teach defense, teach fundamentals. Just put a good defensive coordinator around him and offensive coordinator around him and you’re going to win football games.”

— Cornerback Richard Sherman: “He’s a great coach. He’s a great man. I think he’s going to be a fantastic head coach because he relates to his players extremely well. He’s a guy that’s not close-minded in his approach. He’s very approachable. He’s a great leader of men. I think all those qualities will allow him to be a great head coach. Obviously, personnel dictates certain things. But I think whatever team he goes to he’ll have fine personnel and they’ll do a great job.”

A writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: Tom Brady takes the air out of critics in Super Bowl
— AJC: Short takes: Brady rallies Pats but Seahawks bungled ending
— AJC: LIVE: Finally after ‘DeflateGate’ and chatter, a Super Bowl
— AJC: Another possible embarrassment for Falcons: Fake crowd noise
— MyAJC: There’s no confusion about pecking order on Super Bowl teams
— AJC: Dan Quinn could have final day on 53-man roster
— MyAJC: Blank speaks but remains vague on Falcons’ restructuring
— MyAJC: Tiger Woods’ problems aren’t just physical anymore
— AJC: Is it Tiger time … or is Tiger Woods’ time over?
— MyAJC: LeGarrette Blount walked out on team — and straight to Super Bowl
— AJC: Georgia’s Lockette playing for third straight Super Bowl team
— MyAJC: Dan Quinn says he’s ready for next challenge (with Falcons)
— AJC: Lynch goes into interview Beast Mode again (surprise!)
— MyAJC: Great or not, Patriots’ legacy is forever tarnished
— AJC: Seattle players say Quinn will be ‘great head coach’ for Falcons
— AJC: Brady says ‘feelings got hurt’ by accusations (really?)
— MyAJC: Hawks are closest team to rare Atlanta sports title
— AJC: Matt Ryan doesn’t believe deflating footballs is the norm
— MyAJC: Al Horford finally past injuries and frustration with Hawks
— AJC: Stall, lie, cheat — it’s the Patriots’ way, and perfectly timed
— AJC: DeflateGate: It’s time for NFL to forfeit games for cheaters
— MyAJC: Walsh-Montana still top Belichick-Brady on coach-QB mountain
— AJC: Seattle’s Super Bowl only delays Falcons’ hiring of Dan Quinn
— AJC: Oddsmaker says Braves’ win total will be ‘low 70s’ (with reader poll)
— MyAJC: Braves’ moves carry Coppolella’s fingerprints
 

Reader Comments 0

42 comments
Wayne_stuck_in_AL
Wayne_stuck_in_AL

I'm sorry, but as long as A. Blank continues to let Dimitroff choose the players via the draft, I will not root for this team until he is gone.

DanJohn
DanJohn

I think Massaquoi and Maponga were underused and will be pretty good players if given a chance. That said we still need a couple of outside OL or DE's. You can never have too many pass rushers. If Spoon and Moore can stay healthy then that would help a lot. But that's a big IF with their injury history. Trufant is a very good CB. The jury is still out on Shembo, Alford, Worrilow and Southward. Babs is getting old and has little left but may have one more year left. Peters had flashes and could be kept around. Osi, Kroy and Jackson showed me nothing. Osi and Kroy need to go. Jackson may have too much left on the contract to cut.


IF everyone stays healthy the Falcons have some pieces on the defense however the puzzle is far from finished. Since you're only as strong as your weakest link the Falcons chain as is, is still in pieces.

BobDawg
BobDawg

Maybe Dan Q. can bring Trent Kirchner - Director of Pro Player Personnel with him…. He is the GM's right hand man and keeps bringing them the players in the Draft…. 

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Jeff, you failed to realize that both ARTHUR and Dimitroff told us during their press conference when they fired Smith that we already have a talented roster here on the Falcons and the simple problem we had was the coaching. So apparently we don't need many roster moves, we already have great players, and just needed this new coach to take over.

This is what happens when your owner is clueless about football and your GM's seem to have him buffaloed as to what is really going on with the team. The difference between Arthur and his idol, Jerry Jones, is that Jerry knows a little bit about football.

colt07
colt07

News Flash - Falcons found guilty in Noise Gate scandal. Punishment - Falcons receive two additional draft picks for Dimitroff to screw up!  BAAHAAHAAA

TaxiSmith
TaxiSmith

The best choice? That remains to be seen. The Falcons are just a dismal mess.

GT71
GT71

Yes, good luck.  He'll need it.

This town kills coaches' careers.  Except for the coaches who deserve career death...like Petrino.

Now get in here and get Artie to replace Dimitroff.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Good luck, Coach Quinn! You're going to need it if Jimmy Neutron continues in the GM seat.

Schultzie, what's the over/under on the number of players on the current roster being released before camp?

My bet is 10, although I can easily count 12 or 14 that haven't contributed a lick.

DrPhill
DrPhill

Dimitroff is the Falcons' Frank Wren. Comparing the talent of the Seahawks with the 2014 Falcons is insanity. As long as Blank plays the control freak, the Falcons will be mediocre at best. But they will have the biggest scoreboard on the planet.

Falcons2013
Falcons2013

As a 25 year season ticket holder i wonder if whoever will take over my seats in the new dome will appreciate him assuming he is still around in 17. Although the likilhood is it will be visiting team fans or corporate fans showing up in the second quarter in those seats. Good luck coach Quinn. You come to a franchise that has just alienated its longest season ticket holders and is having its worse offseason since its QB was headed to prison. And that was before the investigation for piped in sound.

FredMacmurray
FredMacmurray

I like the  hire,, didnt want that baffoon Rex Ryan... he's young and hungry and knows what a good defense looks like,,  now he has the tough task to get his type of players in here.. good luck coach Quinn. 

gfw
gfw

Our talent level.  A few big contracts (Ryan, first and foremost).  The salary cap.  Those are the three major challenges facing Quinn.  Frankly, unless the Falcons can find several nuggets like the Patriots are famous for  (for example, Amendola, an undrafted free agent) I don't see how Quinn isn't in a vise.

FootballTopFan
FootballTopFan

CONGRATULATIONS to new Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn  !!!


Falcons FANS  :::


Q U I N N to   W I N

Look did you read his quotes regarding being unable to stop New England in 4 quarter?


Being without Avril was a real factor, he is such a factor when we pair him with Bennett.


Without him it was a struggle.


Guess what Boss? You think that was an issue wait until you see the all these Powerhouse players Dimitroff has drafted.


In other words a Coach is not worth a flip without talent.


Look I want this guy to succeed, I LOVE the Falcons but as long as Dimitroff has an hand in anything regarding Talent they will continue to SUCK.


I does not matter if the dig up Lombardi and prop him up on the side line with a Falcons hat on his head.


They are years away, years and I just have rocks in my stomach knowing that Dimitroff has another opportunity to blow another draft and free agent signings.


Thank you Arthur. 

FredMacmurray
FredMacmurray

Settle down tootsie,, I think the new guy is going to have a good bit to say about his players.. But you're correct about one thing,, if hair gel has his hands in it look for more of the same... 

UGA76
UGA76

  Very well stated.  The sad fact is this mess of a team will take at least two years to fix.  Running Quinn's defense will require two new DE's, another DT and that assumes that huge mistake Dimitroff made in drafting Hageman can actually play, two new LBs and another DB.  That's 6 new players for the defense.  As for the offense, the Falcon's need a C and a LT for the line, two TEs and a RB.  That's 5 for the offense.  Total of 11 new starters and that doesn't even address situational players.  Like I said, this will be a two year minimum rebuilding job. 

This also assumes that "spandex boy" concentrates on the office rotisserie league and the football pools and leaves the real football to the adults.  . 

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@UGA76 Worilow is serviceable at LB..we just need one.  He'll elevate the play on the DE side so I think we need one good free agent at that position and one in the draft.  OL and DL in the draft.  We are covered at DT.. these are pro players that he will coach up.

HopelessinAtlanta
HopelessinAtlanta

Jeff, truly one of your most idiotic statements ever:


"Seattle had the best defense in the NFL for the second straight season. He comes to a team that had the 32nd ranked defense, which says less about the coaching of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and former coach Mike Smith than it does the personnel on the roster and the flawed attempts to create a pass rush with no legitimate pass rushers."

So you don't think coaching was a problem the past two years but just lousy personnel? I am assuming then that you think Smith and Nolan should have been retained? Amazing!

tyger
tyger

Cursory review of Seattle draft history...


Indicates success began off-field...

Numerous late round "hits"... Sherman, Chancellor, Luke

Trifecta in 2012...Irvin, Wagner, Wilson

Trifecta in 2010...Okung, Thomas, Tate

UDFA: Baldwin, Kearse, Lockett...


Quinn likeable, but who is the personnel guy?



GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

May be better that Seattle lost yesterday so Quinn arrives here hungry to win another.   Nothing like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the SB to light a fire in an NFL coach's belly. 

GeorgeJuarez
GeorgeJuarez

When you're last in defense you can only go one way

seminoleking
seminoleking

another dumb decision by a dumb organization. no wonder they have zero superbowls. quinn is nothing. seattle's superbowl magic isnt coming with quinn. he doesnt make adjustments or call a good game. unless he bringing  all those all pros with him, atlanta is looking for yet another had coach in 3 years......

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

Quinn .... good luck......remember to play trhe best man

BTC
BTC

When Quinn the new coach gets here, everybody's gonna jump for joy...

GT71
GT71

@eddiewillers @BTC  ...like the mighty Quinn.

Come on without (players) come on within (the Falcons 'brain trust').

We'll all need more than the mighty Quinn.

Selah.

DS
DS

Congrats Coach Quinn. Now, let's get some more players at the line of scrimmage, both offense and defense!

BSNBC
BSNBC

Now if the Falcons could get a new owner!

FarTrain
FarTrain

The Falcons should have hired the Seahawks OC, Bevells, then he and Mark Richt could have had a competition to see who the dumbest coach in GA would be.  Also, guess Bobo can breath a sigh of relief as he no longer bears the title of "coach with the dumbest call in football".  

NorthFlaFalcon
NorthFlaFalcon

DQ seems to have a fire in the belly. Let's see what he can bring to the organization, we sure do need help.

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

I remember ESPN talking head Marcellus Wiley had nothing but bad mouth to say when talking about the Falcons hiring Mike Smith, saying he never had anything to do with the defense while he was playing in JAX (when Mike Smith was DC).  Mike Smith had 5 winning seasons in a row in Atlanta.  Hopefully, all the praise for Dan Quinn means he will be the first HOF HC in Atlanta Falcon history, when everything is said and done.


Or ... maybe we need to call Marcellus Wiley up and get his opinion?

DenverDawg
DenverDawg

PSLs on the cheapest nosebleed seats are a slap in the face to every long-term, long-suffering Falcons fan.

JackClemens
JackClemens

"the vibe thing." I like this guy already. But, they have to shore up the front seven on defense. It's long past time.

Curious_George
Curious_George

Will Arthur Blank pipe in fake crowd noise and applause into Dan Quinn's introductory press conference in a vain attempt to help generate fake assignment for the hire among the season ticket holders who will be soon disenfranchised of their status and priced out of the market by the PSL scheme of the new stadium?



BDK1
BDK1

It will be interesting to see if Quinn can lure any top defensive free agents this year. If the players like and respect him as much as they say they do, Maybe the Falcons can pick up a player or two who can actually help the team.