Goober Pyle

Schultz: Quinn deserves credit for holding Falcons together through tough times

39 posts in this topic

 

The Falcons are 4-4, and people are really excited. This is significant because 4-4 generally isn’t viewed as an exciting record, at least not since it was something to get excited about for this organization, like in the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s.

But, moving on.

There’s a reason 4-4 is kind of a big deal now: The team started 1-4 and projected to finish 4-12. But hope for the postseason exists again, and not merely because of Matt Ryan’s staggering level of play and the offense returning to almost 2016 levels. (Recall consecutive losses to New Orleans and Cincinnati, during which the team scored 73 points but allowed 80.)

This is not about Ryan or the offense or the decrease on slapstick tendencies on defense. This is about Dan Quinn.

The old adage about people’s character coming through in difficult circumstances is especially true in athletics, where emotions swing on a dumb penalty, a dropped pass or in the Falcons’ case, several body parts suddenly spontaneously combusting. Six significant starters, including arguably the team’s three best defensive players, went on injured reserve in the first seven weeks. Place-kicker Matt Bryant also was lost for an extended period. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, the team’s best lineman, missed games.

To say this season could have gone off the rails would be an understatement. But with three straight wins and beatable opponents in the next two weeks — Cleveland on the road, Dallas at home — the Falcons realistically could be 6-4 going to New Orleans on Thanksgiving night.

Quinn, the franchise’s leader, credited players Monday when asked if he derived a particular satisfaction in the turnaround.

“I’ve had a real belief in terms of what I thought this ’18 team can be,” he said. “Although it started in difficult circumstances, I like the way they support one another; I like the toughness they’ve shown.”

But this starts with him. Teams are a reflection of their head coach. If he panics, the players panic. If he lacks stability, so do they. If he’s borderline bi-polar, so are they.

Quinn has been the picture of consistency inside the team’s headquarters in terms of his approach and his level of expectations. Publicly, he avoids criticizing players. Behind the scenes, the bar his high, and he let’s players know it.

“It’s my job to push the buttons,” he said.

Asked if he’s tougher in the building than in news conferences, Quinn said, “Yes.” He smiled and left it at that.

Examples worth noting: Quinn said positive things about linebacker Duke Riley (a former third-round draft pick) and safety Jordan Richards (acquired from Washington for a conditional seventh-round pick) in public. But when it became clear neither could handle the increased responsibilities given to them, he made changes. The snap counts for Riley and Richards have dropped significantly in the past few weeks. Playing time for safeties Sharrod Neasman and Foyesade Oluokun has skyrocketed.

But this goes beyond X’s and O’s and who starts.

Quinn has learned from several head coaches he worked for but especially Nick Saban (in his Miami Dolphins days) and Pete Carroll (Seattle).

“From Nick and Pete, really stay the course in your beliefs,” he said. “Those two guys were real fundamentalists. Their programs from afar looked different, but internally they both had a real vision how they wanted their teams to play and the identity of how to do it. During tough times, understand that people are watching you as a leader to set the course for an organization. It put that pressure on me. They were teaching me, just by the example they set.”

After a season-opening loss at Philadelphia, a disastrous offensive showing that came on the heels of the playoff defeat last season, Quinn stuck by embattled offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and told players not to be discouraged.

Quinn took heat for sticking with Sarkisian, but he has been proven right. Since going one-for-five in the red zone at Philadelphia, the Falcons have been staggeringly efficient in the red zone: 17 touchdowns in 21 attempts (81 percent) in the past seven games. They rank seventh in the NFL for the season at 69 percent.

Ryan was 2-for-10 for 13 yards with an interception in the red zone against the Eagles. In seven games since, he is 21-for-23 for 186 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Ryan obviously gets the most credit for that production. But success also can be attributed to Sarkisian for play selection and quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp, a former offensive coordinator who was hired by Quinn during the offseason and communicates with Sarkisian from the press box during games.

Things also have improved defensively. It still doesn’t justify the team showing no interest in then-free safety Eric Reid after injuries to Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, but the defense stepped up against the New York Giants and Washington.

Quinn’s message to his defense after the 1-4 start and consecutive losses to New Orleans (43 points), Cincinnati (37) and Pittsburgh (41) was to reaffirm the “core principles of who we are — the speed, the relentless. It can’t be about just one missed gap. It’s gotta be the effort that sets us apart. Let’s get back to things that we can do well. The last few weeks I’ve seen that come to light.”

Does this guarantee anything for the second half of the season? No. But the chance that the Falcons would lose for reasons other than being undermanned stemming from injuries seems remote. Players continued to follow their head coach after the 1-4 start, so there’s no reason to believe that will change.

“The good news is there can be some chemistry when you go through those tough times; the connection gets stronger,” Quinn said. “If it fractures during those times, it can be really hard to get back.”

The Falcons still have fractures. Just not the kind he’s talking about.

 

 

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What's with the need to crown people so early? The tough times were partially due to the fact that the backups were not ready to take over for injured players which is a coaching issue. 

I'll wait to judge Quinn on this season until the actual season is over.

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37 minutes ago, chifalc said:

Backups mostly wouldn’t be backups if they were able to replicate the production of the starters.

That’s too simplified. Backup may need game time reps to get close to, replicated, or exceed the production of starters. For all we know, Kazee could be better than Rico once he gets the reps. Debo and Campbell both looked awful at the beginning of the 16 season. Reps made the difference plus some changes in scheme. 

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1 hour ago, Jesus said:

Eh, this guy praises the team when they win and calls the season over when they lose.

 

And he's got some kind of man crush for Eric Reid..he will not let it go.

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50 minutes ago, MAD597 said:

What's with the need to crown people so early? The tough times were partially due to the fact that the backups were not ready to take over for injured players which is a coaching issue. 

I'll wait to judge Quinn on this season until the actual season is over.

What? Early?

You were the first to start attacking our team, our coaches, and our players, and ripped anyone that dared oppose your extreme negative views. Now, when someone wants to enjoy something legitimately positive that happened, you say we need to wait and not be so impulsive.

**** you man, seriously 

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1 hour ago, MAD597 said:

What's with the need to crown people so early? The tough times were partially due to the fact that the backups were not ready to take over for injured players which is a coaching issue. 

I'll wait to judge Quinn on this season until the actual season is over.

As I’ve said hundreds of times players don’t develop from the bench. How can a backup be prepared for live action if they don’t play? They have to actually play against somebody with a different color jersey to get better. Practice and game speed are totally different. Game plans, looks vary week to week. They see something they haven’t seen each game yet the coaches are supposed to have them ready for that without thinking so they can play fast even tho they’re not sure what they are looking at when they see it for the first time? If you’re gonna wait til the end of the season to judge Quinn why not just refrain from coming here with the Debbie downer negative posts that you ALWAYS make and air out ALL of your team frustration at the end of the year? Makes more sense don’t it?? Why come here everyday if you already have an end of the season view of suckage. Just wait til it’s official. You and those like you are the reason I haven’t been on in a while. Negative energy is something I despise. Can’t be around it. Change the record sometimes man!!  

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This article points out eloquently that Dan Quinn's focus and demeanor are exactly what a HC should be.  People can hate on some of his game management and nit pick a few things here and there, but man the Falcons hit a home run with this hire.  And this is a good piece by Schultz too, but I guess some haters are always going to hate.

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Yeah there are not many on this board who lived through the days of Swamp Fox and Dan Henning. 

I get on Quinn's game management but I've never even entertained the thought that he's a 'bad' coach.  That is a ridiculous notion.  People think NFL coaches grow on trees.   

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18 minutes ago, Peyton said:

This article points out eloquently that Dan Quinn's focus and demeanor are exactly what a HC should be.  People can hate on some of his game management and nit pick a few things here and there, but man the Falcons hit a home run with this hire.  And this is a good piece by Schultz too, but I guess some haters are always going to hate.

The Xs and Os of coaching can be learned and developed, such as clock management. 

Getting the best out of your players--it takes a special guy to be able to do that time and again. 

Besides the defense, if you want to see the kind of impact DQ has had on this team and franchise, look no further than Matt Ryan. He was always really good, but man he has really taken it up a couple notches since DQ came around. That 2012 season is looking like Ryan's floor right now. 

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1 hour ago, hjerry said:

What? Early?

You were the first to start attacking our team, our coaches, and our players, and ripped anyone that dared oppose your extreme negative views. Now, when someone wants to enjoy something legitimately positive that happened, you say we need to wait and not be so impulsive.

**** you man, seriously 

It's never too early to trash the coach or the team but don't you dare give him credit for getting the team from 1-4 to 4-4....or credit for taking a team from written off to the SB....or credit for taking the next year's team from written off to a playoff win on the road.

No, this must not happen.  He needs to be held accountable for the bad and when something good happens, reserve judgement and find others to give credit to.  That's the only reasonable way to approach sports, you know, something that is supposed to be fun and entertaining.

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34 minutes ago, octoslash said:

Yeah there are not many on this board who lived through the days of Swamp Fox and Dan Henning. 

I get on Quinn's game management but I've never even entertained the thought that he's a 'bad' coach.  That is a ridiculous notion.  People think NFL coaches grow on trees.   

Agreed, like any coach he isn't perfect.  He obviously has areas that need to be worked on but there are a whole lot of strengths as well.

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2 hours ago, MAD597 said:

What's with the need to crown people so early? The tough times were partially due to the fact that the backups were not ready to take over for injured players which is a coaching issue. 

I'll wait to judge Quinn on this season until the actual season is over.

Jeez, you’re such a Crochy McDouchenstein. Go get laid.  

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2 hours ago, MAD597 said:

What's with the need to crown people so early? The tough times were partially due to the fact that the backups were not ready to take over for injured players which is a coaching issue. 

I'll wait to judge Quinn on this season until the actual season is over.

What happened to us losing to the Bucs, Giants and Redskins? 

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44 minutes ago, octoslash said:

Yeah there are not many on this board who lived through the days of Swamp Fox and Dan Henning. 

I get on Quinn's game management but I've never even entertained the thought that he's a 'bad' coach.  That is a ridiculous notion.  People think NFL coaches grow on trees.   

I remember those horrid Dan Henning days as a kid. That name sends a shiver up my spine.

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26 minutes ago, Godzilla1985 said:

I remember those horrid Dan Henning days as a kid. That name sends a shiver up my spine.

Henning wasn't a great HC, but not even close to some of our other infamous head coaches. The ClownShoe parade started with our very first HC, the honorable Norb Hecker, hired from the Packers after Vince Lombardi told Rankin Smith NOT to hire him.

But Hecker got the nod and our first year as a franchise he guided the team to a 3-11 record. With that first difficult season under his belt, Hecker led his team to a record of 1-12-1. When the team started off 0-3 in his third season even Rankin Smith began to see the light and he was finally fired.

Perhaps the most unlikely long-term HC in NFL history was Marion Campbell, the "swamp fox." In his first stint as Falcon HC from 74-76, Campbell posted a lackluster record of 6-19. After being fired Campbell was fortunate to become HC of the Eagles for three years. His record was a sterling 17-29 before he was again unemployed.

Rankin Smith was delighted to find his old HC available and put him back in charge of the Falcons from 87 to 89. He repaid his boss for the loyalty by going 11-30 before being turned loose, mercifully never to return.

Including his record as HC of the Eagles, Campbell posted an incredibly stinky 34-80 record as an NFL head coach. A record of fail so epic it is highly unlikely any other HC will come close to his mark.

No, Dan Henning wasn't a great coach, but if you want to talk spine-shivering failure, he's not even close to the top of the Falcons HC fraternity of Flaming Dumpster Flop losers. :lol:

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2 hours ago, droopy1592 said:

That’s too simplified. Backup may need game time reps to get close to, replicated, or exceed the production of starters. For all we know, Kazee could be better than Rico once he gets the reps. Debo and Campbell both looked awful at the beginning of the 16 season. Reps made the difference plus some changes in scheme. 

The coaches should have had our guys ready to step up instead of having a historically bad drop off costing us 3 early games which put us behind the 8 ball.

That is what OTA's and pre season is for, I think the coaches have to drastically look at how they handle off season and correct this going forward. Our backups always get slaughtered in pre season by every other teams backups.

If Quinn manages to eek out a winning season I'll be impressed but after 8 games the fact we are 4-4 to me is more a failure of our coaching staff to not be ready with our backups and scheme adjustments due to injury.

These "tough times" were self inflicted due to lack of coaching I'm not going to sit here and give awards to them for being 4-4

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That's a good article by Shultz. I do like how he put emphasis on how DQ leads the team. So many here (and sometimes myself) question the words we get from DQ in the pressers, but it is just him being respectful of the trust that he has developed with his team, and it displays his how composed he is. Which is what you want. The setting of the standards, the discipline, and planning all go on in-house like it should. This article gives me a new perspective on Quinn.

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58 minutes ago, kschreck said:

It's never too early to trash the coach or the team but don't you dare give him credit for getting the team from 1-4 to 4-4....or credit for taking a team from written off to the SB....or credit for taking the next year's team from written off to a playoff win on the road.

No, this must not happen.  He needs to be held accountable for the bad and when something good happens, reserve judgement and find others to give credit to.  That's the only reasonable way to approach sports, you know, something that is supposed to be fun and entertaining.

We shouldn't have been 1-4 in the first place, that was a coaching issue. Call me when the season is over, if we have a winning record I'll consider it a good coaching job by Quinn. Not going to crown him when coaching disfunction was one of the primary reasons we were 1-4.

Crappy Special Teams, Crappy Defensive play, Lack of Scheme adjustments, Stupid penalties and lack of prep of our backups were the primary reasons for 1-4 and those are coaching issues.

Look at every other teams IR/Injury list right now, we are pretty much middle of the pack LOTS of teams have as many or more injuries then we do.

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2 hours ago, vafalconfan said:

And he's got some kind of man crush for Eric Reid..he will not let it go.

Eric Reid would clearly not be a fit in this locker room. With how much of an emphasis the Falcons put on having a culture of leadership and humility it is no wonder they wouldn't touch Reid, who is a self-centered, righteous, egomaniac, with a ten foot pole. 

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