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Why Atlanta Will Have A Top 10 Defense And Offense In 2015


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Before I address the upgrades on the roster, I am going to talk about what Quinn brings to the table, that Smitty never brought:

- Hands-On Player Development - From what I've seen already, Quinn is a firm believer in Hands-On coaching. The coaches Quinn brought on his staff, are all coaches that believe in this as well. This is something that was rarely seen from Smith and his staff, and I believe this was a big reason in why we struggled mightily in developing our younger players. Our former staff would, for the most part, be seen with a notepad, and would tell the players what to do, and excpect them to listen and perform. That is a difficult way to improve in a physical sport such as football. What we've seen from Quinn so far has been a complete 180. We see the coaches throwing the balls around with the players. Jamming receivers at the line. Performing pass rush techniques. Getting in the players face and being physical with them. Running some of the drills with the players. Not only does that give the players a better idea of how to learn and perform, but also sets the tone and shows them that the coaches are as commited to the teams success as the players. More physical, and fast paced mentality. All this, will help the players develop better, and correct their mistakes with much greater ease.

- Full Speed, All the Time - When I used to watch Smittys practices, it seemed like more of a high school practice, than an NFL team. Players weren't demanded to go full speed. Many would be just taking in the weather, and just going through the motions. How you practice, is a precedent that is set for game day. Having lackadaisical practices, is in my opinion, why we struggled to keep leads in 2nd halfs. We never kept the foot on the gas in practice, and that would transfer to game day. I have all the faith in the world, that regardless of the win or loss, Quinn will have these guys playing there ***** off for a full 60 minutes on Sundays this Fall. Smitty was like your grandpa playing golf. Quinn is like your bad *** uncle that is always down for a game of tackle football in the back yard. He wants the guys to compete to win, all the time, every time.

- Playing to players strengths - this is something that every player wants from the coach. They want the coach to put them in the right position for the player to do there best. Smith, and more so Nolan and Koetter, would mAke the players adapt to the scheme, rather than the scheme adapting to the player. You can have the best strategy in the world, but if you are having Paul Worrilow cover slot receiver late in games, or throwing bubble screens to Julio Jones on 3rd and long, you will not have much success in this league. That's why that staff, for the most part, are in the unemployment line. Quinn is not a far if of taking a starter out, in favor of a back up, if the back up puts the team in a better position to succeed on the current down. Unlike Nolan, Quinn's scheme is very black and white. While Nolan wanted us to do 100 different plays at an average level of success, Quinn wants the team to do 10 plays at an extremely high success rate. Best quote for this, would be "quality over quantity". Done are the days of Hageman dropping into coverage, or Stephen Jackson up the middle for a 1 yard loss on every 1st down. We have a true players coach, that is not afraid to lay down the hammer.

- Energy - This may not seem like a lot, but could be the biggest difference between 4-12 or 10-6. Quinn has been quoted as saying things like " make this your best off season to date" or "make this the best game week of your career". Coach Quinn is constantly pushing the players mentally. He is always trying to push them to there mental and physical limits, and that is going to get all of the players untapped potentials, and natural talent out of them every day, every practice, every game day. If you did amazing one week, he wants you to push yourself to build on that, and do it even better the following week. Unlike during the Smith area, these are all qualities that will make this team perform better each and every week, instead of peaking in October. Quinn is I stilling this kind of attitude and environment that will allow us to see our football team play it's best in December and January. He always wants you to do better than the previous week. Having a coach constantly pushing you to perform at your best, will go a long way, both mentally, and in production.

Now after talking about the improvement of Quinn over Smith in a coaching aspect, I'd like to address some of the notable improvements we've seen on the roster, due to Quinn arriving in Flowery Branch:

- DE Goodman - While Nolan and Smith wanted Goodman to come in at 280-290, Quinn has had Goodman get down to about 265, to take advantage of his real, raw talent. In his senior year, Goodman was beginning to come into his own as a player, and recorded 9.5 sacks. He comes to Atlanta, and Smittys gang of dumbazz's want him to balloon up, and lose his explosiveness, thus limiting him as a DE. Now we have Goodman at his more natural weight, and primed for a breakout year. He may not get double digit sacks, or even start, but we will see a much more affective and efficient Goodman when he does see the field.

- SLB Reed - This is one guy, that I think will surprise a lot of people here. He was misused in Houston, largely due to the lack of MLB depth, and the constant absence of Brian Cushing. Reed is the perfect strong side linebacker for Quinn's 43 front. I think we will see pro bowl caliber numbers from this guy, and career numbers across the board. Reed has never been in a system that has catered to his skill set, as much as this scheme does. He very well could get double digit sacks, and be a huge factor in the passing game. He will be our leader of the front 7, and will bring a lot of heart and energy to this defense.

- Promising running game - Quinn has said multiple times that he believe in a balanced offensive attack. With the addition of offensive mastermind kyle Shanahan calling the plays, you can excpect this team to run the ball down your throat, to set up big plays and quick strikes in the passing game. Add in the development of Devonta, and the selection of Coleman, and we have a scary, young running game. Tevin is a workhorse RB that can carry the ball 15-20 times a game. While on passing downs, we can lean more towards Freeman, who showed some very promising flashes as a pass catcher during his rookie campaign. Both are very young, and are one cut and go backs. Both cN make you whiff as a tackler, or straight knock you off your feet. Add in a special big play threat like Antone Smith, and we are looking to have a very scary offense this year. Excpect a lot of big play running plays, allowing a lot of play action passes to Julio thundering down the sideline like seabiscuit.

- Size and speed at Cornerback - I've never seen this length and speed at the. CB position on one team. Yes they are all very young, but we have Raheem Morris, who is arguably the best DB coach in the league. With Trufant becoming a top 3 CB in the entire league, added in with Collins, Southward, and King, we have CBs who raw he between 6'-6'3". Add in the fact that all of them run in 4.3-4.4, and we have a lot of promising talent in that group. While Alford is a tad shorter, he should be far from slept on. With his burst, leaping ability, and tackling ability, he will excel mightily in Quinn's scheme. ****, we may have one of the best, young, and most athletic CB squads in the league. With our size, speed, and depth, it's going to cause fits with opposing WR's, and give QB's a lot of headaches.

- Pass rush - we all know how bad the pass rush has been. Beating a dead horse would be an understatement at this point. In free agency, we got a very solid LDE starter in Adrian Clayborn. While he does have a checkered injury history, he has been one of the better LDE in the leGue when he's been healthy. He is a powerful pass rusher, who also is a great run defender. He brings a lot of power off the left side of the defensive line, but a also has the ability to move inside on obvious passing downs. He is a guy that I could see eclipse 8 or so sacks this season. He has a lot of energy, and is playing for a new contract this year. He is still fairly young, and can have. Very successful career as a dirty bird, if he can put the injuries behind him. While Clayborn was a big addition to the pass rush, the biggest addition, was added a couple of weeks ago. When we drafted Vic Beasley at 8th, I was spinning around and yelling, because we finally have that dynamic franchise pass rusher. A Von miller/Demarcus ware type talent. The dude is a physical freak. His combine numbers were legendary, and his tape was arguably even more impressive. He is the definition of a dynamic speed rusher. Not only do I see him getting 12-16 sack this year, but I see him as being one of the best run defenders on the team by the last few weeks of the season. He has all the traits of an All-Pro pass rusher, and has the natural talent and strength to be a 20 sack playmaker from the LEO spot in 2-3 yeRs. We hit the jail straight on the head with this one. If he wasn't a perfect of a match for us already, he is going to give it that little extra everyday due to Quinn, and his lifelong fan hood of the ATL dirty birds. Cannot wait to see him bull rush, dip and rip, or just go into a spin cycle on the way to crushing Drew Brees in the superdome. We have a once in a generation edge rusher on our team. The pieces for this team to have sustained, long term success are really falling into place.

Just wanted to give my 2 cents on a few of the notable differences with this team, and why we are going to be in this *****, competing at a high level for a while bro. Watch out for the Quinn dynasty!

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It's certainly possible, but there are a lot of variables to consider when trying to determine where we will rank on either side of the ball.

First, there is the "time" factor. it takes time for players to learn to trust each other and do their own job. It takes time for them to be able to read each other. It takes time for them to learn a new defense well enough to "go with the flow" and not have to think about what he's doing to the point of distraction. How quickly will our defense gel with each other and become a true defensive unit? How quickly, for that matter, will our offense adjust to the new line formations, new protections, new calls and new schemes?

Second, there is the "health" factor. Injuries are certainly going to play a role in the success of a team, especially if they affect key players. We've seen and felt this a few times over the past several years. If our team stays healthy - or as healthy as NFL players can be during a season, then we have a much greater chance of ranking higher and more importantly, winning more games.

Then there is the X factor. X = opposing team, X = field, X = weather, X = attitude. How we perform on a weekly basis depends on all of these things.

I do believe we have made positive moves and it appears we will be putting our players in the best position to succeed. Now, if all the pieces fall into place, and the factors are overcome (as well as the refs rolleyes.gif ), then I'd say, yes - we definitely are making the right moves to put our team in the position to move way up the ranks on both sides of the ball.

Here's to a great year, relatively injury free, and a lot of factors going our way!

Rise Up!

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What a refreshingly positive post. I agree with most points especially with Reed and Clayborn. I would say though that we must temper expectations of Vic. Whilst I think he is a future 12+ sack artist we shouldn't be expecting too much his first season. 7+ with the HOPE of more. Let's not too much pressure on the kid and be calling him a bust halfway through the season. Great Post though!

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What a refreshingly positive post. I agree with most points especially with Reed and Clayborn. I would say though that we must temper expectations of Vic. Whilst I think he is a future 12+ sack artist we shouldn't be expecting too much his first season. 7+ with the HOPE of more. Let's not too much pressure on the kid and be calling him a bust halfway through the season. Great Post though!

I would never call him a bust that early lol. I'd be very pleased with 6-8 as a situational rookie pass rusher. I just think he has such a rare blend of technique, speed, quickness, and strength that he will have a monster year (12-16). I mean Aldon and Von had ridiculous rookie years. I believe he is better than Aldon as a rookie, and right up there with Von. Plus, Vic has Quinn's DL guru brain trust to pick at. Edited by DarrellShropshire
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I would never call him a bust that early lol. I'd be very pleased with 6-8 as a situational rookie pass rusher. I just think he has such a rare blend of technique, speed, quickness, and strength that he will have a monster year (12-16). I mean Aldon and Von had ridiculous rookie years. I believe he is better than Aldon as a rookie, and right up there with Von. Plus, Vic has Quinn's DL guru brain trust to pick at.

A lot of people would lol. I love his skill set and fit too but 12-16 sacks are very lofty expectations for a rookie. He will be a stud IMO hopefully sooner rather then later. I'd love it if you were right!

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I know I sound like a broken record. However, I want to add to Tandy's post. We have a new approach on both sides of the ball. As well as learning to trust each other, the players have to learn to trust themselves in the scheme. They can't "think" or hesitate in Quinn's defensive system. The whole design is for them to play fast. You can tell a player "do it fast even if its wrong" 100 times, but the human mind can't always pull that off. By nature, we have a strong desire to protect ourselves. You have to overcome that survival tendency to thrive in a new system. The best way I describe it is you have to reorder your instincts. You have to move predator ahead of preservation. It is the same learning curve players coming back from traumatic injuries face. Some jump right in, but most struggle to trust their recovery for the first year.

I am not a Smith hater like many here are. I actually appreciate all he accomplished. That said, his philosophy is totally different than Quinn's. He talked about making and avoiding explosive plays continuously. You can't go from "don't give up the explosive play" to "attack first, analyze later" in a single off season.

I'm as excited as everyone else. I just think there is a learning curve between where we are now and where we are headed. That said, I hope you are right and I'm wrong!

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I know I sound like a broken record. However, I want to add to Tandy's post. We have a new approach on both sides of the ball. As well as learning to trust each other, the players have to learn to trust themselves in the scheme. They can't "think" or hesitate in Quinn's defensive system. The whole design is for them to play fast. You can tell a player "do it fast even if its wrong" 100 times, but the human mind can't always pull that off. By nature, we have a strong desire to protect ourselves. You have to overcome that survival tendency to thrive in a new system. The best way I describe it is you have to reorder your instincts. You have to move predator ahead of preservation. It is the same learning curve players coming back from traumatic injuries face. Some jump right in, but most struggle to trust their recovery for the first year.

I am not a Smith hater like many here are. I actually appreciate all he accomplished. That said, his philosophy is totally different than Quinn's. He talked about making and avoiding explosive plays continuously. You can't go from "don't give up the explosive play" to "attack first, analyze later" in a single off season.

I'm as excited as everyone else. I just think there is a learning curve between where we are now and where we are headed. That said, I hope you are right and I'm wrong!

Of course there is a learning curve. The thing is that the schemes will be simpler which will allow for less thinking more attacking. No need to over analyze. Expect a dramatic turn around in win loss ratio compared to the last two years. You can wear your Falcon gear with pride again🏈
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I said the same thing about Quinn when I watched those minicamp vids. You see Quinn throwing the ball with players, running with them, teaching the drill etc. I have never ever seen Smith anywhere near a drill and we had him for 5 years. Quinn already won.

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I agree with Tandy to a large degree. I do think we will have a top 10 offense and defense, but I'm not sure we'll have them both this season. There are just too many variables, and going from a last place defense to top 10 is a chore.

I'm not saying it can't be done. It's just not really realistic. If we do it, it will be a ridiculous turnaround for one of the worst defenses in football.

We already had a top 10 offense, so really that is just Shanahan's to screw up. I don't think he will. If he doesn't, and we get that defense toward the middle of the pack, we're right back in the hunt. If we have an improved offense (again, I think we will), and a vastly improved defense, we would be looking at possibly a top 5 offense and a top half defense. And that's a combination that could go pretty deep in the playoffs, especially if the run game is clicking on offense.

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I hope you are right but I think a top 10 D is a bit of a stretch. It will take time for these guys to gel and completely get the system. IMO top 20 or maybe top 15 would be closer. But I really hope you are right about top 10

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Boy you guys really like to sht on Smitty. Just let me address a couple of your points.

1. First of all, Smitty had a top 10 offense and defense in 2010 and 2012. He also had a top 10 offense in 2008 and his defense finished 11th, just one field goal from 10th place.

2. More importantly, in his first five years he went 56-24, had five straight winning seasons, went to the playoffs four times, won two divisions and appeared in an NFCCG. How the hail can you do that when you can't coach or develop players? If Quinn sputters out of the gate his first two years, hovering at or below .500, he won't even make it to the Pantheon, let alone five years down the road.

3. This notion that Smitty wouldn't play or develop young players is 100% pure dee bush it. He played several young players early in their careers and most of them were developed and got better over time. See Ryan, Julio, Lofton, Grimes, Spoon, Baker, DeCoud, Douglas, Moore, Trufant, Alford, Worrillow, Bartu, Beirmann, Peters, Vance, Konz, Hawley, Weems, Bosher, Quizz, Holmes, Reynolds, Palmer, Ish, Dent, DiMarco, Owens, Lolo, Shembo, Matthews, Mass, Schraeder, Free, Stone, Hageman, Jelly and BobbyMac. WTF are yall talkin bout?

4. Another TATF myth is Smitty had talent on defense but just played them out of position. LMAO. He wanted to run a 3-4 last year. When he found out two of his backers were hurt and the rest were sorry Dimi acquisitions, he was forced into a 4-2-5 and had to play people out of position. If they were so talented, why did Quinn cut or let ten of them walk, sign six free agents, draft four new defenders, two of them with his first two picks, then invite a slew of UDFAs to try out? If the talent was so good, why such an upheaval? He took a wrecking ball to that roster. I bet more than half of the defensive starters will be new this season.

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Love your optimism but top 10 is unrealistic. These are the teams that 100% will have a better D than us.

Eagles

Panthers

Cardinals

Seahawks

Rams

Bills

Dolphins

Jets

Patriots

Ravens

Bengals

Texans

Broncos

Chiefs

I think we'll fall into 16-18 range, which is still a huge improvement.

Edited by tldr
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Love your optimism but top 10 is unrealistic. These are the teams that 100% will have a better D than us.

Eagles

Panthers

Cardinals

Seahawks

Rams

Bills

Dolphins

Jets

Patriots

Ravens

Bengals

Texans

Broncos

Chiefs

I think we'll fall into 16-18 range, which is still a huge improvement.

There's quite a few teams we could be better than. Texans secondary is pretty questionable. Patriots secondary is completely gutted. Dolphins gutted the front 7 for suh. Eagles are nothing special on defense, and Maxwell will struggle against opposing teams #1. Cardinals lost Bowles, and that will be quite an adjustment. Our front 7 has a lot of depth, and a lot of players who could straight bust loose with the new regime. I think we will be very good. Especially with Beasley/Reed/Durant added to the front 7 and Hageman blossoming. Secondary is very solid, and I think Ishmael will have a lot of success at FS. Tru will lock down the opponents #1 every week.
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Great post. Quinn will have this team playing improved football across the board. I love his on hand coaching and energy.

I believe Smith and Nolan had the same physiology on defense. But, took the wrong approach to fix it.

Overall,I expect to see improved rankings on offense,defense and special teams. And a 11-5 or a 12-4 record.

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There's quite a few teams we could be better than. Texans secondary is pretty questionable. Patriots secondary is completely gutted. Dolphins gutted the front 7 for suh. Eagles are nothing special on defense, and Maxwell will struggle against opposing teams #1. Cardinals lost Bowles, and that will be quite an adjustment. Our front 7 has a lot of depth, and a lot of players who could straight bust loose with the new regime. I think we will be very good. Especially with Beasley/Reed/Durant added to the front 7 and Hageman blossoming. Secondary is very solid, and I think Ishmael will have a lot of success at FS. Tru will lock down the opponents #1 every week.

So who is to blame if the defense ranks in the 15-20 range or improves marginally?

If we go 8-8 or 9-7 would it be considered underachieving in your book?

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As JDaveG pointed out, getting to top 5-7 offense and top 15-18 D might be more the way a really good first year would look, and would be enough to be a good team who has a chance to make hay in the playoffs.

I think the D will come around fairly quickly to the talent level, because the DL scheme will be a lot simpler...that shouldn't take forever to get used to. I'd be most concerned about secondary communication on defense...those guys have to get on the same page.

Our offense could have hiccups at the beginning, they have to move together like a symphony, and there's a lot more learning each other's tendencies in the ZBS.

Essentially, if we can be injury free (or low injury) a lot is going to come down to a few elements...

how fast does the secondary get on the same page?

Will the OL get the ZBS quickly, and will one back (or more) emerge?

Will a 3rd WR or TE (or both) emerge as legitimate targets?

And then, things like turnovers. An 18th ranked D with a ton of turnovers is enough to carry you through. Once you're not horrible, turnovers make a huge difference.

I like your optimism though, and there's reason to hope this year.

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