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Quinn Getting Falcons Back To The Basics


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The Falcons have a lot improve on heading into the 2015 season, limiting penalties and missed tackles will be a key to a much better Atlanta team.

The Atlanta Falcons are two seasons removed from winning 13 games to finish with the best record in the NFC and taking the NFC South division crown. The 2013 and 2014 seasons were forgettable, with the Falcons totaling ten wins and finishing third in the NFC South both years. Atlanta hopes to get back to its winning ways with new hires in head coach Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Quinn has started this process by focusing on getting the Falcons back to the basics, fewer penalties and better tackling.

The last time they made the playoffs in 2012, the Falcons finished as the least-penalized team in the NFL. Thats not the only reason they made the playoffs, but controlling penalties certainly plays a huge factor in winning games. The more disciplined teams that dont beat themselves tend to be more successful. This has become even more true the past few seasons as the NFL has transitioned to a passing league. It has adjusted the way referees officiate on defense, making it more difficult to defend without being penalized for illegal contact or unneccesasry roughness.

Quinn has already said that he will have officials at practices throughout the season to help his players get a better understanding of how the game will be called and when they cross the line. A few teams have tried this method in the past, but it is a relatively uncommon practice. However, it can only be beneficial to have the officials who are calling the games on Sundays at practices during the week to get the players in the habit of using legal tactics. If nothing else, this is a move to ensure that players understand the importance of limiting penalties. Quinns early attention to detail is a good sign that the Falcons will be a much more disciplined team than we have seen in recent years.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Falcons ranked 28 in the league last season with 132 missed tackles over 1106 snaps, or a 0.199 missed tackle/snap rate. Quinns Seattle Seahawks unit was not much better, ranking 17 in the league with 105 missed tackles over 1002 snaps, good for a 0.105 missed tackle/snap rate. This stat could be a little misleading for the Seahawks considering the style they played with last season.

Their defense was so good at swarming the ball that players would often miss the initial tackle because they were trying to strip the ball, knowing help was coming either way. Regardless, missing tackles was obviously one the Falcons biggest issues last season and will be a focus for Quinn.

By limiting penalties and missed tackles the Falcons should also improve their third-down defense, which was the worst in the league last season. According to ESPN.com, Atlanta allowed opponents to convert 46.8% of their third downs attempted in 2014. Consequently, Atlanta also allowed a league-worst 358 first downs last season.

One of the keys to getting off the field on third down is getting to the quarterback, especially on third downs. It will be a focal point of Quinns defensive gameplan.

"The biggest thing for us is affecting the quarterback, and that may be the hits on him, the times we can move him off the spot. The third-down sacks are critical ones, 'cause that's getting off the field. For us, the biggest thing is affecting the quarterback, maybe by the way we rush, maybe by the way we pressure, maybe by the way we cover or combination of all of those. But affecting him is the No. 1 thing."

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Just focusing on better tackling is already a step in the right direction. We take some of the worst angles imaginable.

Yep. One of the articles I read on Quinn emphasizing rugby-style shoulder tackling has me thinking we're going to be a much more technically sound, physical defense this season.

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Yep. One of the articles I read on Quinn emphasizing rugby-style shoulder tackling has me thinking we're going to be a much more technically sound, physical defense this season.

Sorry Poker emphasis on Rugby tackling well I been saying this for about 5 years.I come from that back round have played the game my whole life.I bought this up moons ago and now we have an ex Seahawk coach and its a fad now its a good idea sorry bro but you guys are donkeys on this subject.

For me right now Quinn should hire a specialist from down our side of the world and the Falcons should have done it years ago.The guy that Carroll used at the Seahawks as an advisor wasn't even recognised as a tackling guy in our game.Man I could off the top of my head right now reel off half a dozen guys that would put the Falcons tackling technique through the roof after one off season.

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Sorry Poker emphasis on Rugby tackling well I been saying this for about 5 years.I come from that back round have played the game my whole life.I bought this up moons ago and now we have an ex Seahawk coach and its a fad now its a good idea sorry bro but you guys are donkeys on this subject.

For me right now Quinn should hire a specialist from down our side of the world and the Falcons should have done it years ago.The guy that Carroll used at the Seahawks as an advisor wasn't even recognised as a tackling guy in our game.Man I could off the top of my head right now reel off half a dozen guys that would put the Falcons tackling technique through the roof after one of season.

That would be a good idea.

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Guest King Jigsaw

He had one in 2010 and 2012. No Lombardi.

While this is correct, I still don't like your attitude Eeyore.

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Sorry Poker emphasis on Rugby tackling well I been saying this for about 5 years.I come from that back round have played the game my whole life.I bought this up moons ago and now we have an ex Seahawk coach and its a fad now its a good idea sorry bro but you guys are donkeys on this subject.

For me right now Quinn should hire a specialist from down our side of the world and the Falcons should have done it years ago.The guy that Carroll used at the Seahawks as an advisor wasn't even recognised as a tackling guy in our game.Man I could off the top of my head right now reel off half a dozen guys that would put the Falcons tackling technique through the roof after one off season.

I've played rugby all my life as well, played collegiate rugby too, I've always used shoulder tackling, I played highschool football and they don't put in the same methods (in Canada that is) that Rugby does. Rugby made me a way better tackler in space and on the run. I bet you guys down in NZ could teach some things to the coaches in CAN and USA when it comes to football.

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So the scoring and total defense both need to be top 15?

Flacco didn't have both in 2012. Lombardi

Eli didn't have both in 2011. Lombardi

Brees didn't have both in 2009. Lombardi[/quote

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Good point. Let's just hope we stay healthy enough to improve from dead last in almost every defensive category to 20ish this year in points allowed

If we're somehow able to do that we'll be in 10-11 wins territory.

Edited by Vandy
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I've played rugby all my life as well, played collegiate rugby too, I've always used shoulder tackling, I played highschool football and they don't put in the same methods (in Canada that is) that Rugby does. Rugby made me a way better tackler in space and on the run. I bet you guys down in NZ could teach some things to the coaches in CAN and USA when it comes to football.

I laughed because when I first mentioned it alot of fans on here kept talking about wrapping up and what not I was saying to myself yeah but thats the last thing you do.

Also alot on here told me that they were taught at pop warner level and what not but I look at the NFL as a league in this department ie tackling if I'm honest for such a professional and gladitorial sport I found after watching it many a year its actually pathetic.

For me there light years behind.There technique of throwing there heads and bodies in front of players knees is a joke.Thats the quickest way to get yourself concussed.

Hence why head and shoulder placement and correct target area's are key when protecting yourself against this.

But what do I know I been tackling people for 30 odd years without shoulder pads and head gear.

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A lot of that was because we dominated ball possession

Yep, offensive time of possession helped the defense. That is one thing that was surely lost in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons because the offense stalled quite a bit in games.

The defense still struggled to get to the QB in 2010 and 2012. I think the defense did fairly well in the readzone in 2012 if I can remember, not sure though.

The sucking in 2013 and 2014 has given me memory problems.

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So the scoring and total defense both need to be top 15?

Flacco didn't have both in 2012. Lombardi

Eli didn't have both in 2011. Lombardi

Brees didn't have both in 2009. Lombardi

Each of them still had defenses that got it done in the post season though.

The 2009 Saints defense, 2011 NYG defense, and 2012 Ravens defense(along with a great post season run by Flacco) all stepped up and had a big hand in their SB runs.

The offense did not meet expectations in most of the post losses in those years, but the defense did not fair well in the post season.

The Falcons offense always seems to be either inconsistent or nonexistent(2011 NYG game), while the defense does not step up much if at all in the post season. Hopefully both changes.

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Sorry Poker emphasis on Rugby tackling well I been saying this for about 5 years.I come from that back round have played the game my whole life.I bought this up moons ago and now we have an ex Seahawk coach and its a fad now its a good idea sorry bro but you guys are donkeys on this subject.

For me right now Quinn should hire a specialist from down our side of the world and the Falcons should have done it years ago.The guy that Carroll used at the Seahawks as an advisor wasn't even recognised as a tackling guy in our game.Man I could off the top of my head right now reel off half a dozen guys that would put the Falcons tackling technique through the roof after one off season.

Yeah, it would've been nice if some HC or DC of ours had implemented this style of tackling years ago. I'm sure you're right in saying if you're going to teach your players that style, you should bring in some experts at it, not just people familiar with it. Isn't Quinn on Twitter? Send him a list of your coaching recommendations!

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