FLOWERY BRANCH — Dan Quinn spent a good part of his first day as Falcons’ head coach Tuesday talking to the media. I suspect that will become a lower priority for him Wednesday and every day that follows. That’s fine. When a coach takes over a team that went 4-12 and 6-10 in the last two seasons, there are enough things to occupy his week.
I’ve posted my latest full column on Quinn. To read it, click this link on MyAJC.com. I spoke to, among others, former long-time San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Bill McPherson, who was one of Quinn’s mentors when he left Rutgers and began his coaching tenure in the NFL. “Mac,” who I knew from my days of covering the 49ers in the mid-to-late 1980s, had some great insight into Quinn.
I’ve been impressed with Quinn after speaking with him in Arizona during Super Bowl week and again Tuesday. I also was impressed that long after his main news conference Tuesday, he circled back and walked into the media work room at the team’s facility, when there were still a few of us here working.
Two subjects came up that I thought would be of interest to you:
• Julio Jones isn’t going anywhere: Some have concluded that since Jones has one year left on his contract and is on the verge of getting a lucrative extension that Quinn — who comes from a defensive background, understands the roster needs to be rebuilt and has final say on the 53-man roster — would prefer to trade Jones for extra draft picks.
But Quinn said that’s not the case: “Absolutely — I can’t wait (to meet him). Just a chance to go through the process with him. … We love great players. We’re trying to celebrate all the good guys. We’re trying to collect more great players, not the other way around.”
• Quinn is still emotionally dealing with the Super Bowl loss: Seattle had a 24-14 lead after three quarters, then saw New England quarterback Tom Brady throw two touchdown passes and complete 15 of 17 passes in the fourth. The Seahawks blew a chance to win the game in the final seconds on second-and-goal from the Patriots’ one-yard line when they chose not to hand off to Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Russell Wilson’s pass on a pick play intended for Ricardo Lockette was intercepted in the end zone.
Quinn on the aftermath of the loss: “It was such an emotional time in the game. I really didn’t have time to put it in a place that you want to get to. With a little bit of time to reflect back on it, it was two teams that were competing absolutely as hard as they can. It was emotional. At the end, you don’t even know where to go with it, it was so hard. But you tip your hat to them and the one thing we haven’t talked about is the guy (Malcolm Butler) made a great play on the interception. It’s easy to talk about the play call, but at the end of the day there were lots of plays that were made in the game. It was hard. As a coach, it’s hard to look at it but that’s what you have to do.”
Quinn on Brady vs. his defense in the fourth quarter: “The hardest part for me, and what I’m struggling with the most, is we love to be known as one of the best finishing teams in ball. So for us not to hold up our end of it at the end, that was hard. Uncomfortable. I’ve got to give credit to Tom and those guys. When he had to light it up, he was terrific. There are times when a guy gets going it’s hard to slow him down. We tried a number of different ways.”
• Finally, a website, MyTopSportsBook.com, has posted odds on all seven of the NFL’s new head coaches. I’ve listed the odds for amusement purposes only. Noteworthy: Denver’s Gary Kubiak is the even-money favorite to win the most games next season, with Quinn ranking third among the seven coaches at 7-1. (Oakland’s Jack Del Rio is 100-1.) Quinn also is listed third in the field to make the playoffs at 2-1, behind Kubiak (1-2) and San Francisco’s Jim Tomsula (7-4). Quinn is 3-1 (best in the group) on the subject of which coach will have the greatest team improvement in the first season.
Obviously, all of the odds relate as much to the team and last season’s results as they do they actual coach. Here are the odds:
2015-16 New NFL Head Coach Odds
Which new head coach will win the most games in 2015-16: • Gary Kubiak (Denver): 1/1 • Jim Tomsula (San Francisco): 3/1 • Dan Quinn (Atlanta): 7/1 • John Fox (Chicago): 9/1 • Rex Ryan (Buffalo): 11/1 • Todd Bowles (NY Jets): 50/1 • Jack Del Rio (Oakland): 100/1
Which new head coaches will make the playoffs in 2015-16: • Kubiak (Denver): 1/2 • Tomsula (San Francisco): 7/4 • Quinn (Atlanta): 2/1 • Fox (Chicago): 5/1 • Ryan (Buffalo): 5/1 • Bowles (NY Jets): 20/1 • Del Rio (Oakland): 40/1
Which new head coach will get to a Super Bowl first: • Kubiak (Denver): 3/2 • Tomsula (San Francisco): 7/3 • Quinn (Atlanta): 13/2 • Ryan (Buffalo): 10/1 • Fox (Chicago): 10/1 • Bowles (NY Jets): 15/1 • Del Rio (Oakland): 30/1
Which new head coach will win the Super Bowl first: • Kubiak (Denver): 5/2 • Tomsula (San Francisco): 7/2 • Quinn (Atlanta): 17/4 • Ryan (Buffalo): 5/1 • Fox (Chicago): 7/1 • Bowles (NY Jets): 8/1 • Del Rio (Oakland): 15/1
Which new head coach will get fired first: • Tomsula (San Francisco): 3/1 • Fox (Chicago): 7/2 • Ryan (Buffalo): 7/2 • Kubiak (Denver): 5/1 • Del Rio (Oakland): 10/1 • Quinn (Atlanta): 10/1 • Bowles (NY Jets): 14/1
Which new head coach will improve his team’s record the most in his first season: • Quinn (Atlanta): 3/1 • Tomsula (San Francisco): 4/1 • Fox (Chicago): 5/1 • Bowles (NY Jets): 5/1 • Del Rio (Oakland): 5/1 • Ryan (Buffalo): 9/1 • Kubiak (Denver): 25/1
Which new head coach will decrease his team’s record the most in his first season: • Ryan (Buffalo): 4/3 • Kubiak (Denver): 5/3 • Tomsula (San Francisco): 4/1 • Fox (Chicago): 12/1 • Bowles (NY Jets): 15/1 • Del Rio (Oakland): 15/1 • Quinn (Atlanta): 20/1
Which new head coach will get in trouble first for an inappropriate comment in the media: • Ryan (Buffalo): 5/6 • Tomsula (San Francisco): 6/1 • Fox (Chicago): 7/1 • Del Rio (Oakland): 9/1 • Kubiak (Denver): 12/1 • Quinn (Atlanta): 12/1 • Bowles (NY Jets): 12/1
That’s it for now. What are your initial thoughts on Quinn? Do you believe the Falcons made the right choice?
•A writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— AJC: Falcons need players but Dan Quinn is a good start — 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