Jump to content

Falcons aim for free-flowing defense with Dan Quinn calling plays again


Geneaut
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/291946/falcons-aim-for-free-flowing-defense-with-dan-quinn-calling-plays-again

 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Four-time Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor might have summed it up best when he reflected on his former defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, immediately after Quinn coordinated his last game with the Seattle Seahawks.

"That guy allowed us to be ourselves," Chancellor said of Quinn after the Seahawks' Super Bowl XLIX loss to New England. "He got us to this point. That was our leader of the defense."

Falcons on Defense

The Falcons finished in the bottom five in five major defensive categories in 2018:

CATEGORY RANK OUT OF 32
Yards Per Game 28th at 384.5 ypg
Yards Per Rush 28th at 4.89 ypr
Red Zone Defense 28th at 70.4%
First Downs Per Game 30th at 23.4%
Third-Down Defense 31st at 48.7%

Quinn is leading the defense once again, just for a different NFC team. The Atlanta Falcons' head coach decided after a 7-9 season to reassume duties as the defensive playcaller after firing second-year coordinator Marquand Manuel. Meanwhile, Quinn remains in search of an offensive coordinator and a special-teams coach after letting go Steve Sarkisian and Keith Armstrong, respectively. The Falcons have interviewed Dirk Koetter, Mike Mularkey and Darrell Bevell for the offensive coordinator position, and Koetter seems to make the most sense at this point.

Regarding the defense, it's the second time Quinn will take over the playcalling in Atlanta, something he did in Week 13 of the 2016 season, when he relieved then-defensive coordinator Richard Smith of those responsibilities. Of course, the Falcons went on to play in the Super Bowl that season, mainly because of the league's highest-scoring offense. But a renewed sense of defensive energy was felt under Quinn during that eight-game stretch in '16. The Falcons improved in scoring defense, red zone defense, sacks per pass attempt and interceptions per pass attempt.

Quinn hopes to inject that same type of life into a defense that struggled in 2018.

"I think my background in the scheme of what we do and the style exactly like I want to do it, well, I like doing it," Quinn said. "I've done it before both as a defensive coordinator and as a head coach some. I just thought that was the best way for us moving forward and something I'm looking forward to."

How will the defense look under Quinn? He isn't going to change much, with a firm belief in the Cover 3 scheme that helped him boast the league's top-ranked defense in 2013 and 2014. Everyone wondered how Quinn could build the same type of defense in Atlanta without a Richard Sherman at corner, an Earl Thomas at free safety, a Chancellor at strong safety, a Bobby Wagner in the middle and a Michael Bennett or Cliff Avril getting to the quarterback.

Well, the Falcons found their Chancellor in hard-hitting, one-time Pro Bowler Keanu Neal, who is expected to make a full recovery from the torn ACL that sidelined him for most of 2018. They have their Wagner in one-time Pro Bowler Deion Jones, who recovered from early-season foot surgery in time to show why he's such a valuable part of the defense. Damontae Kazee thrived in that Thomas role this past season, tying for the league lead with seven interceptions. The return of Ricardo Allen next season from an Achilles tendon tear means the potential for more of a three-safety look, with the need to keep Kazee on the field alongside Allen and Neal.

The Falcons still would like to find a corner in the mold of Sherman, though they have some faith left in one-time Pro Bowler Desmond Trufant, not to mention some enthusiasm regarding the potential development of Isaiah Oliver. Quinn, with his background as a defensive line guru, certainly would like to develop a consistent rush group up front alongside defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Maybe that group will include 2015 eighth overall pick Vic Beasley, or perhaps it won't, as Beasley moves into his $12.81 million fifth-year option season.

No matter how the roster comes together next season, expect more physicality up front and more of an emphasis on creating turnovers after a 19-takeaway season. The Falcons forced 23 and 22 turnovers in Quinn's first two seasons as coach.

When Quinn took over the defensive playcalling in '16, players said they played more loose and free because he emphasized more of the run-and-hit factor, rather than overloading them with confusing looks. They said that he had a good feel for the flow of the game and that he could predict what was coming from the opposition. They said Quinn knew how not to put them in bad situations, such as calling an unnecessary blitz in a third-and-short situation.

The luxury Quinn could have in 2019 that Manuel didn't this past season is a healthy lineup. It's hard to quantify how much the absence of Neal and Allen hurt, particularly when you consider the intelligence of both players. Allen's ability to get everyone lined up correctly is like having another coach on the field, making Quinn's job that much easier. Missing Jones for 10 games was noticeable, too, as his speed made up for mistakes by others. Having Jones, De'Vondre Campbell and Foye Oluokun on the field means the future is bright at linebacker.

Taking back control of the defense is the easy part for Quinn. But what about the game-management responsibilities associated with being the head coach?

"I definitely had that to consider, for sure," Quinn said. "I even turned back the clock when I did that role for a good portion of the season in 2016 to say what were some issues that came up that I wanted to make sure that I could address if that situation came about. So, yeah, there will be some roles that will change."

As the shuffling continues with the coaching staff and the roster, the stakes going into next season haven't changed. The only person in the building guaranteed to be around for years to come is quarterback Matt Ryan, who signed a five-year, $150 million contract extension. Quinn might not say it publicly, but he knows how important reaching the playoffs will be in 2019, or else more could change than just who is calling plays.

"I don't feel it any more now than the day I took the job," Quinn said of the pressure to win. "For me, I don't feel it any more because I've certainly felt it from the time I've gotten here. And I take that responsibility really seriously."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, osiruz said:

Need to get NT, and another lber. Lets hope Devin White falls to our pick.

I was on the Devin White train early on but I've cooled a good but. He's rarely in coverage. If we want to go LB, I'd rather aim for Kwon on a one year rental paired with McCoy than White. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, vel said:

I was on the Devin White train early on but I've cooled a good but. He's rarely in coverage. If we want to go LB, I'd rather aim for Kwon on a one year rental paired with McCoy than White. 

Kwon on a one year rental is going to cost a good chunk. I'd rather use that on the OL, and resigning JJ11 and Grady.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why do they assume we will have a healthy lineup in 2019? Teams deal with injury EVERY year and we might again deal with it next year.

We need coaches that can adapt well enough to push through injury issues like the Eagles did as they played 13 players in their secondary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, vel said:

I was on the Devin White train early on but I've cooled a good but. He's rarely in coverage. If we want to go LB, I'd rather aim for Kwon on a one year rental paired with McCoy than White. 

To be fair, Deion Jones wasn't known for his coverage ability coming out of LSU either, despite running a 4.3. In fact, Devin White statistically had better numbers in regards to PDs and INTs. I do agree he blitzed too much, but I think White is athletic and instinctual enough to be as good as Debo in coverage in the pros.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry but these players on the Falcons defense aren't equivalent to the Seahawks team Quinn had. 

I keep saying there's a disconnect between what Quinn says he wants (fast & physical) players; and who the front office brings in.

Neal not equal to Chancellor 

Jones is not equal to Wagner 

Kazee and Allen are not equal to Thomas

Grady not equal to Bennett

Beasley sure as h3ll not equal to Avril

Trufant and Alford...well they're just overpaid CBs who are no where near Sherman.  Oliver still to draw to know what he'll be. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Da_Truth said:

I'm sorry but these players on the Falcons defense aren't equivalent to the Seahawks team Quinn had. 

I keep saying there's a disconnect between what Quinn says he wants (fast & physical) players; and who the front office brings in.

Neal not equal to Chancellor 

Jones is not equal to Wagner 

Kazee and Allen are not equal to Thomas

Grady not equal to Bennett

Beasley sure as h3ll not equal to Avril

Trufant and Alford...well they're just overpaid CBs who are no where near Sherman.  Oliver still to draw to know what he'll be. 

I disagree on some of your comparisons. But the comparison is being done wrong regardless. 

Comparing how good they are will always be difficult for individuals who were a part of the #1 defense for many years. What people are comparing, and rightfully so, are their skillsets in which most of those indivduals above compare to in many ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, Da_Truth said:

I'm sorry but these players on the Falcons defense aren't equivalent to the Seahawks team Quinn had. 

I keep saying there's a disconnect between what Quinn says he wants (fast & physical) players; and who the front office brings in.

Neal not equal to Chancellor 

Jones is not equal to Wagner 

Kazee and Allen are not equal to Thomas

Grady not equal to Bennett

Beasley sure as h3ll not equal to Avril

Trufant and Alford...well they're just overpaid CBs who are no where near Sherman.  Oliver still to draw to know what he'll be. 

Like for like comparisons will never hold.

A lot of the players stack up pretty well.  The most glaring difference is at FS, Sherman, and DL in general.  They had 6 players as good as our top 3 on the DL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Da_Truth said:

I'm sorry but these players on the Falcons defense aren't equivalent to the Seahawks team Quinn had. 

I keep saying there's a disconnect between what Quinn says he wants (fast & physical) players; and who the front office brings in.

Neal not equal to Chancellor 

Jones is not equal to Wagner 

Kazee and Allen are not equal to Thomas

Grady not equal to Bennett

Beasley sure as h3ll not equal to Avril

Trufant and Alford...well they're just overpaid CBs who are no where near Sherman.  Oliver still to draw to know what he'll be. 

Agree with everything except Wagner being better than Debo. Debo wouldn’t have whiffed on that tackle when Dak ran up the middle to seal the game this past weekend. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, MAD597 said:

Why do they assume we will have a healthy lineup in 2019? Teams deal with injury EVERY year and we might again deal with it next year.

We need coaches that can adapt well enough to push through injury issues like the Eagles did as they played 13 players in their secondary.

And we need a GM that will give us depth when those injuries happen...however I’d be hard pressed to say we will have as many injuries as in ‘18

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Atl Falcon said:

And we need a GM that will give us depth when those injuries happen...however I’d be hard pressed to say we will have as many injuries as in ‘18

We were near the bottom of the league in the number of players we had on IR. It just seemed like a lot cause they were our best players and we had horrible depth. Chances are we will actually have more people go on IR next year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Falcanuck said:

Agree with everything except Wagner being better than Debo. Debo wouldn’t have whiffed on that tackle when Dak ran up the middle to seal the game this past weekend. 

Debo is a fast player don't get me wrong, but Wagner has the size and physicality that Debo just doesn't have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, takeitdown said:

Like for like comparisons will never hold.

A lot of the players stack up pretty well.  The most glaring difference is at FS, Sherman, and DL in general.  They had 6 players as good as our top 3 on the DL.

Exactly.  But the Falcons are still missing the mark player and coaching wise.  I say this because Seattle plays the same defense yet their players are much aggressive attacking while the ball is in the air and making the tackle at first contact.  They pride themselves in tackling you and shutting you down.  Falcons still trying to get there.  But they do need to start with guys who are strong tacklers and naturally physical in their play when they scout them.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, ATLFalcons11 said:

I disagree on some of your comparisons. But the comparison is being done wrong regardless. 

Comparing how good they are will always be difficult for individuals who were a part of the #1 defense for many years. What people are comparing, and rightfully so, are their skillsets in which most of those indivduals above compare to in many ways.

Pete Carroll has moved on from a number of their guys from the original legion of boom defense.  He brought in new players and they play with the same aggressiveness and physicality.  Difference is Carroll obviously knows how to find the players that fit that defense.  Dimitroff and company have yet to prove it.  We know Quinn can lead the right players to a #1 defense.  What's the difference?  Finding the RIGHT players.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, MAD597 said:

We were near the bottom of the league in the number of players we had on IR. It just seemed like a lot cause they were our best players and we had horrible depth. Chances are we will actually have more people go on IR next year.

This is a flawed way of looking at it. In adjusted games won/lost, which accounts for starters and snaps played, the Falcons were the 2nd most injured team in the NFL.

While I agree we need better depth, injuries played a huge role this year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Francis York Morgan said:

This is a flawed way of looking at it. In adjusted games won/lost, which accounts for starters and snaps played, the Falcons were the 2nd most injured team in the NFL.

While I agree we need better depth, injuries played a huge role this year.

This. Even if Matt Ryan were the only player on the team to go on IR, the impact that one injury would have on the roster outweighs 20 back ups going down. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope DQ will stop being so hard-headed and get some size and physicality on both sides of the line and LB. Even though the kid from Yale had a good season for a rookie I would prefer him as a quality backup. IMHO, in the past TD assembled a good 1st 22 and felt he could plug in backups who fell short of being NFL type contributors.  Now it is very evident you have to have a strong 53 and have a Staff that can Coach them up because injuries in the NFL will happen, some players will underperform and whose to say our injured will come back 100 percent?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, vel said:

I was on the Devin White train early on but I've cooled a good but. He's rarely in coverage. If we want to go LB, I'd rather aim for Kwon on a one year rental paired with McCoy than White. 

I like the idea of bringing in a talented veteran linebacker. I don't want to chance putting a rookie out there if Debo goes down. We saw how important he is to this defense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Da_Truth said:

I'm sorry but these players on the Falcons defense aren't equivalent to the Seahawks team Quinn had. 

I keep saying there's a disconnect between what Quinn says he wants (fast & physical) players; and who the front office brings in.

Neal not equal to Chancellor 

Jones is not equal to Wagner 

Kazee and Allen are not equal to Thomas

Grady not equal to Bennett

Beasley sure as h3ll not equal to Avril

Trufant and Alford...well they're just overpaid CBs who are no where near Sherman.  Oliver still to draw to know what he'll be. 

We’re closer than you and most peeps think. The problem has been coaching, not talent.

D Jones and K Neal most certainly are on a level with Wagner/Chancelor already.

Put a beast next to Grady he’d be everything M Bennett was. And Takk can certainly be Avill. Beasley is better than Bruce Irvin at Leo plus we have Bruce Irvin. 

Oliver has all the talent to be a great corner, just needs the experience. 

Nobody can replace Earl Thomas, but Kazee roamed CF reminiscent of ET for Seahawks. 

What we need more than anything is for dan Quinn to be that same DQ who was in Seattle. That’s what I’m most excited about this offseason’s changes. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...