Goober Pyle

Offensive experience aids Dan Quinn’s defensive responsibilities: ‘If he needs to lean on us, he can lean on us’

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https://theathletic.com/1019736/2019/06/10/offensive-experience-aids-dan-quinns-defensive-responsibilities-if-he-needs-to-lean-on-us-he-can-lean-on-us/

 

Dan Quinn didn’t set out to stack his offensive coaching staff with three former head coaches. Of the traits he was looking for, being a head coach at some point wasn’t part of the criteria.

To his benefit, however, Quinn now has a plethora of major experience on that side of the ball.

Already on Atlanta’s staff was Raheem Morris, the Falcons’ receivers coach, who was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach from 2009-11. After Quinn fired offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and tight ends coach Wade Harman, previous NFL head coaches Dirk Koetter (Buccaneers, 2016-18) and Mike Mularkey (Buffalo Bills, 2004-05; Jacksonville Jaguars, 2012; and Tennessee Titans, 2016-17) were brought in to replace them.

Koetter, Mularkey and Morris combine for 11 years of head coaching experience — 11 years and nine games if you count Mularkey’s position of interim head coach in Tennessee in 2015.

Adding this experience to the offensive side has coincided with Quinn’s decision to take over defensive play-calling. It hasn’t meant that Quinn is spending less time with the offense. But given the additional responsibilities on defense, he said he’s glad to have a group of experienced coaches on offense he can rely on. It also has made the morning game management meetings smoother.

“Having three guys who have head coaching experience on the staff, you can imagine my trust and belief in them and their communication and collaboration together,” Quinn said.

It’s still the offseason, and a good amount of time remains before the coaches will put together a game plan for an opponent. But Quinn and the assistants are happy with what they’ve seen thus far.

Koetter and Mularkey have been adjusting to the wide-zone offensive scheme Atlanta has run since 2015. Of course, the new assistants are adding some wrinkles to it. While Koetter will be calling the plays, Mularkey has maintained an influence on the offense’s direction. Morris commands arguably Atlanta’s most talented position group, which figures to once again be involved quite a bit in 2019.

“The dynamic is we all have to be open-minded and we all have to listen to each other,” Koetter said. “I just think the one thing is that there is no perfect way to do things in the NFL. If there was, everyone would do it. We’ve done a good job of collaborating so far, and I think everybody’s done a good job being flexible on how we’re trying to put together what we want it to look like in 2019.”

Mularkey noted that Quinn seems to be in a good place with how the new offensive staff is set up.

“I’m sure that helps with his confidence,” Mularkey said. “This is a very big trusting business, especially when you make hires. I think it gives him a little more comfort that he can go over and know that this side is going to be taken care of the way he wants it.”

Morris, who was a longtime defensive coach before switching to receivers in Atlanta, said Koetter and Mularkey have brought a certain level of comfort to the offense. Before becoming Tampa Bay’s head coach in 2016, Koetter was the offensive coordinator for the Jaguars (2007-11), Falcons (2012-14) and Buccaneers (2015). In addition to being a head coach for three teams, Mularkey was an offensive coordinator three times (Pittsburgh Steelers, 2001-03; Miami Dolphins, 2006; and Falcons, 2008-11).

Through their experience, Koetter and Mularkey’s ability to communicate with other assistants has stood out to Morris.

“They’re all good football minds,” Morris said. “When those two guys talk, they never speak in absolutes.”

Posting big numbers, especially in the passing game, wasn’t a problem in 2018. Atlanta finished sixth in the NFL with an average of 389.1 yards per game. The problem, which led to Sarkisian’s firing, was consistency. While the passing attack was stellar most weeks, the run game struggled to get going.

The new offensive coaches will seek improvement in that area.

“There are really no egos,” Mularkey said. “We know what our roles are. We want to do our jobs well. I have a lot of respect for these guys, having been in that position — knowing what I know now. I think Dan understands what our role is and why he hired us. I know why we got hired, and I think it’s also a comfort that he’s going through.

“If he needs to lean on us, he can lean on us.”

Big four report

Quinn previously said he expected everyone to show up for the mandatory minicamp. On Monday, Quinn’s expectation became a reality as Julio Jones, Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones and Vic Beasley all reported on time. All four elected to skip voluntary organized team activities.

Julio Jones and Deion Jones will be present for minicamp but will be held back at the start, Quinn said. Both players are rehabbing foot injuries.

Jarrett, along with Julio Jones, showed up while he and his representation continue contract talks with the team. Jarrett is working under the franchise tag. He is still eligible for a new deal that includes the 2019 season if the two sides reach an agreement by the NFL’s July 15 deadline. If the teams fail to reach an agreement by then, Jarrett will play the season under the tag’s $15.2 million salary.

Julio Jones is seeking a new contract, and general manager Thomas Dimitroff previously expressed optimism about getting it done. On Monday, Quinn described contract deliberations with Julio Jones and Jarrett as “fluid.”

“Both of them are in concert and having conservations with the team,” Quinn said. “That’s a good thing.”

Hooper, Trufant won’t participate in minicamp

Quinn said tight end Austin Hooper and cornerback Desmond Trufant will not participate in the mandatory minicamp. Hooper, who will be present, is dealing with an ankle injury, which sidelined him during part of the final week of OTAs.

“(Hooper’s) going to be here but won’t take reps,” Quinn said. “There will be a couple of other guys who will be in that space. Mostly through the years, I’ve devoted this time to the youngest players and those who need the work.”

Trufant does not have an injury but has been excused from the minicamp for personal reasons. Quinn has been complimentary of Trufant of late, reiterating Monday that the seventh-year corner has put forth a good offseason.

 

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This could be the most experienced coaching staff in the league.

They talk about a "comfort level", already, with Matt Ryan in his prime. This is good for us. 

If everyone's healthy, our window is wide open.

NeonDeion and Falcons Fan MVP like this

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Doesn’t even make it down to Greg Knapp, who while he’s never been a HC has 10+ years of OC experience.  

With the way the roster and staff are stacked on that side, there are definitely no excuses.

NCCooley and HouseofEuphoria like this

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Good read, thx for posting. As long as everyone can leave their egos at the door then this could be very good for the Falcons. 

Jason is probably the best writer that covers the Falcons. 

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22 minutes ago, NOVAFalconFan said:

Only problem is if the offense works like it should, Knapp, Dirk, and Mularkey may all be gone after 1-2 years.

It's all about winning a championship with this team right now. If it doesn't happen in two years, they're gone anyway.

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Blank is the man. To pay this staff what they are worth....Well, There it is, they are here. Good that there is no salary cap on staff.

I still despise the Smiths. I think of white vinegar when I remember.

We Falcon Fans have an owner who wants to win.

 

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It's good considering we have 3 ex coaches in offense one if witch replaced the other in Tampa. I wonder what they talk about...

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Posted (edited)

On 6/11/2019 at 1:01 PM, Goober Pyle said:

“When those two guys talk, they never speak in absolutes.”

Guess they are not Sith's...:ninja:

Edited by Shelley#37
theDIRTYcode likes this

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