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Quinn says Falcons' strong finish must carry over to 2020


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Quinn says Falcons' strong finish must carry over to 2020

Associated PressDecember 30, 2019, 5:42 PM EST

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons couldn't save their season even though their second-half turnaround rescued coach Dan Quinn from being fired.

A 6-2 second-half record certainly boosted spirits, including after Sunday's 28-22 overtime win at Tampa Bay,

Still, in a bottom-line league, the Falcons missed the playoffs for the second straight season with a 7-9 record. Two consecutive losing seasons are a bitter reality check after two straight playoff seasons, including the 2016 run to the Super Bowl.

“There is no trophy for playing well in the second half," Quinn said Monday. “It has to carry over."

The big hope is the Falcons can take the momentum to 2020.

“You know it's something to build on next year," linebacker De'Vondre Campbell said after Sunday's win.

The Falcons proved they are resilient. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett knows players must prove much more.

Jarrett says the Falcons are “a team that is going to be hungry — hungry for success. We want to be playing back in the postseason and winning big."

Now Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, also retained for 2020, must prove Blank's confidence in them was justified.

FIRST PRIORITY IS FAST START

The Falcons have been devastated by slow starts in two straight seasons. They opened this season with a 1-7 mark. Quinn has said that finding a way to start better in 2020 will be an offseason priority.

Quinn wasn't ready to say on Monday he'll play veterans more in preseason games. He said he still believes the preseason games are more important for younger players.

PROTECTING RYAN

Quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked 48 times this season, a career high. That included six sacks by the Buccaneers on Sunday. The season-long beating caused him to miss a game for the first time since 2009. He will be 35 by the start of the 2020 season and must have better protection.

Despite the sack numbers, Dimitroff said he's convinced the line is better than a year ago. Rookies Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom finished strong at right guard and right tackle, respectively. With center Alex Mack and left tackle Jake Matthews established, the position to watch in the draft and free agency is left guard.

STAFF CHANGES

Raheem Morris was named defensive coordinator for 2020 last week, capping his chaotic season. He began the year coaching wide receivers before a midseason move to secondary coach helped spark the defense's resurgence.

Quinn indicated Friday he plans to retain Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator. On Monday, he said it was too early to say if more staff changes would come.

SALARY CAP ****

The Falcons face salary cap constraints, thanks largely to efforts to re-sign such players as Ryan, Jarrett, Julio Jones and Deion Jones. Ryan and Jarrett restructured deals to clear cap space, an example of moves Dimitroff said the team can make to remain financially flexible.

“I am not concerned about it being a situation where we are going to be in what has been perceived out there as ‘cap ****,'" Dimitroff said. “It's not the case at all. We will accomplish what we need to accomplish to continue to be able to bring the right players in here to be a contender."

The Falcons cannot afford to keep all their unrestricted free agents. Among the most notable players set to enter free agency are Campbell, tight end Austin Hooper, defensive ends Vic Beasley Jr. and Adrian Clayborn, punter Matt Bosher and safeties Kemal Ishmael and J.J. Wilcox.

Hooper said Monday he would like to remain in Atlanta.

HOW TO GET IT RIGHT

Despite small improvements late in the season, the Falcons ranked only 30th in the league in rushing with 85.1 yards per game. Devonta Freeman was slowed by injuries and hasn't played a full season since 2016, also his last 1,000-yard season.

Quinn spoke warmly about Freeman's late-season return but with frustration about the inability to establish a consistent running game.

“That identity, it has to come through," Quinn said. “The fact it didn't, I'm not happy with that. ... It will be addressed going forward."

Improved stability on the offensive line should help the ground game. Ultimately, addressing the running game may require the Falcons to make a tough decision on Freeman.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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8 minutes ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

Oh here we go.

There is no such thing as offseason momentum when there is a 6 month break and you turn over 1/4 to 1/3 of the roster.

Its going to be a different team.

Do race car teams talk about offseason momentum when the next year it’s going to be a completely different car?

 

You are 100% right. I get tired of this momentum garbage.  This season has NOTHING to do with next season.  If it was true, Super Bowl Champs would theoretically have the most momentum going into the next season. However, many teams have a Super Bowl hangover and don't always produce the next season.  

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I don't think 'momentum' is the right word but it is what is used to describe the outcome they are looking for.

To me it means:

1. You have a working plan. The 19 Falcons seemed to finish with a working plan on how to use their strengths to defeat opponents. Take that plan and start with it in 2020 instead of whatever it was you did in 2019.

2. You have an infrastructure in place. You aren't looking to replace major components of your team ( HC, main coordinators, QB, etc )

3. You know where you want to go. There is a clear vision, and your team all shares it.

Sure, it's a little over-used ... but I think it is certainly a factor in a team. I don't think you can discount it entirely.

There was no carry-over in 2018 -> 2019 since we made so many changes in the offseason to coaching. 

Edited by Geneaut
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I don't disagree with your post Geneaut, but where I have cause is the past results, and the fact that he still seems to indicate that preseason doesn't matter for the vets.  I think it does. This team needs to hit the ground running in the regular season, and it is important to be ready to do so. He needs to put at least a little more emphasis on the preseason and use it to prepare for the games that matter.

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22 minutes ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

Oh here we go.

There is no such thing as offseason momentum when there is a 6 month break and you turn over 1/4 to 1/3 of the roster.

Its going to be a different team.

Do race car teams talk about offseason momentum when the next year it’s going to be a completely different car?

 

The offense will be largely the same. Especially if we resign Hooper

They can build on what they did well and work to cut down on things that they did not do as well

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27 minutes ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

Oh here we go.

There is no such thing as offseason momentum when there is a 6 month break and you turn over 1/4 to 1/3 of the roster.

Its going to be a different team.

Do race car teams talk about offseason momentum when the next year it’s going to be a completely different car?

Quinn never said anything about momentum. He said there's no trophy for finishing well and they have to start hot in 2020.

17 minutes ago, Boise Falcon Fan said:

You are 100% right. I get tired of this momentum garbage.  This season has NOTHING to do with next season.  If it was true, Super Bowl Champs would theoretically have the most momentum going into the next season. However, many teams have a Super Bowl hangover and don't always produce the next season.  

Quinn never said anything about momentum. He said there's no trophy for finishing well and they have to start hot in 2020.

18 minutes ago, Vandy said:

Not sure anyone pays much attention to what Quinn says anymore. I know I don’t. 

Pretty clear that's the case with everyone. Quinn never said etc etc.

Anyway, not standing up for the dude, esp with Koetter being retained, but he hasn't ever talked about momentum. Players have talked occasionally about finishing strong and building off it for the next year, and he's talked about how they can build off the second half of the season, but the momentum stuff is entirely the media. 

Momentum might not be a thing, but learning what you do well and building off of it is. That's about all the optimism I have tbh

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1 minute ago, Francis York Morgan said:

Quinn never said anything about momentum. He said there's no trophy four finishing well and they have to start hot in 2020.

Quinn never said anything about momentum. He said there's no trophy four finishing well and they have to start hot in 2020.

Pretty clear that's the case with everyone.

Anyway, not standing up for the dude, esp with Koetter being retained, but he hasn't ever talked about momentum. Players have talked occasionally about finishing strong and building off it for the next year, and he's talked about how they can build off the second half of the season, but the momentum stuff is entirely the media. 

I wouldn't EVER say he NEVER said anything about something.  I'm sure if someone searched enough they could find a quote where he's talking about momentum along with the Brotherhood, we're a team, we need to be fast and physical, yada, yada, yada...

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3 minutes ago, Francis York Morgan said:

Quinn never said anything about momentum. He said there's no trophy four finishing well and they have to start hot in 2020.

Quinn never said anything about momentum. He said there's no trophy four finishing well and they have to start hot in 2020.

Pretty clear that's the case with everyone.

Anyway, not standing up for the dude, esp with Koetter being retained, but he hasn't ever talked about momentum. Players have talked occasionally about finishing strong and building off it for the next year, and he's talked about how they can build off the second half of the season, but the momentum stuff is entirely the media. 

Agreed. I’m just so p.o.ed about the idiots retaining Koetter man, other than draft I’ve halfway checked out on team right now. 

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3 minutes ago, falconsd56 said:

The offense will be largely the same. Especially if we resign Hooper

They can build on what they did well and work to cut down on things that they did not do as well

I get the feeling that Hooper won't be back. I just can't see the team paying him $10 mil. + on a new contract.

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8 minutes ago, Boise Falcon Fan said:

I don't disagree with your post Geneaut, but where I have cause is the past results, and the fact that he still seems to indicate that preseason doesn't matter for the vets.  I think it does. This team needs to hit the ground running in the regular season, and it is important to be ready to do so. He needs to put at least a little more emphasis on the preseason and use it to prepare for the games that matter.

Agree on hitting ground running starting in preseason. Next season, EVERYTHING counts. 

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Just now, Boise Falcon Fan said:

I get the feeling that Hooper won't be back. I just can't see the team paying him $10 mil. + on a new contract.

We are pretty good about keeping our own so he will probably be back.

But who knows....if the niners lose Kittle then I think they poach Hooper

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6 minutes ago, Boise Falcon Fan said:

I wouldn't EVER say he NEVER said anything about something.  I'm sure if someone searched enough they could find a quote where he's talking about momentum along with the Brotherhood, we're a team, we need to be fast and physical, yada, yada, yada...

Never in the context of the press conference being referenced. I see what you're saying, but I think the "momentum" shtick is more of a media fabrication than anything. 

PS: don't get people comparing this season to last either. Not that you did, but that's the big argument against carry-over people keep bringing up. Big difference closing out 3-5 without impressive wins and 6-2 with lots of impressive wins and marked change.

5 minutes ago, Vandy said:

Agreed. I’m just so p.o.ed about the idiots retaining Koetter man, other than draft I’ve halfway checked out on team right now. 

That's totally reasonable imho. The Koetter **** makes me want to rip my hair out. He is who he is and this team is pretty much banking on the defense being elite - that or there's truth to the rumors about him being in the running for a college HC job and they just don't want to fire him right before since it'd look bad. Really doubt that though.

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Only thing I can see "carrying over" is the continuous good play from the defense. The offense? The offense has had a history for us recently to start off very slowly and turn it on the last couple months of the season. If the defense can continue to play well starting week 1 and offense can play good enough, we'll be in better shape... We just can't have the defense giving up 30ppg per game like this year to start the season while the offense tries to find their stride at the same time. That's how you go 1-7. 

If Quinn learned ANYTHING from this season, it's having these guys ready to play Week 1. Forget about run-pass balance, forget about playcalls and scheme, forget about trying to get into "football shape". It's playing disciplined and assignment driven football and not shooting yourself in the foot and not waiting until week 9 to figure it out. If the starters are lackluster throughout preseason, it doesn't inspire much confidence from me. 

That's what I want to see.

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9 minutes ago, falconsd56 said:

The offense will be largely the same. Especially if we resign Hooper

They can build on what they did well and work to cut down on things that they did not do as well

 

9 minutes ago, Francis York Morgan said:

Quinn never said anything about momentum. He said there's no trophy for finishing well and they have to start hot in 2020.

Pretty clear that's the case with everyone. Quinn never said etc etc.

Anyway, not standing up for the dude, esp with Koetter being retained, but he hasn't ever talked about momentum. Players have talked occasionally about finishing strong and building off it for the next year, and he's talked about how they can build off the second half of the season, but the momentum stuff is entirely the media. 

Momentum might not be a thing, but learning what you do well and building off of it is. That's about all the optimism I have tbh

I never said Quinn said off-season momentum.  My goal is to crush any notion that there is off-season momentum when it comes to the team around here.

When it comes to the fans yes off-season momentum exists but mainly in the form of expectations.

Every season is it's own thing and the team starts over.

Here are two examples.

1.  The defense.  EVERY year the defense starts slowly,  even in the best years.  Theoretically it should build on the momentum from the end of the season and shoot out of the gate right?  No.  And every reason you thought of why this isn't the case is why this carry over and off-season momentum is non-sense.

2.  Penalties.  Same thing.   They work on them all season every year.  Theoretically with momentum and carry over the team should have less penalties the next season?  Nope and for the same reasons as above.

You would think that with a year of repetition the familiarity of the playbook and playing together would mean better performance the next season.  And that's been true when Kyle Shanahan was here.  Unfortunately with the rest of the staff that has not been the case.

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31 minutes ago, Geneaut said:

I don't think 'momentum' is the right word but it is what is used to describe the outcome they are looking for.

To me it means:

1. You have a working plan. The 19 Falcons seemed to finish with a working plan on how to use their strengths to defeat opponents. Take that plan and start with it in 2020 instead of whatever it was you did in 2019.

2. You have an infrastructure in place. You aren't looking to replace major components of your team ( HC, main coordinators, QB, etc )

3. You know where you want to go. There is a clear vision, and your team all shares it.

Sure, it's a little over-used ... but I think it is certainly a factor in a team. I don't think you can discount it entirely.

There was no carry-over in 2018 -> 2019 since we made so many changes in the offseason to coaching. 

Correct 

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1 minute ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

 

I never said Quinn said off-season momentum.  My goal is to crush any notion that there is off-season momentum when it comes to the team around here.

When it comes to the fans yes off-season momentum exists but mainly in the form of expectations.

Every season is it's own thing and the team starts over.

Here are two examples.

1.  The defense.  EVERY year the defense starts slowly,  even in the best years.  Theoretically it should build on the momentum from the end of the season and shoot out of the gate right?  No.  And every reason you thought of why this isn't the case is why this carry over and off-season momentum is non-sense.

2.  Penalties.  Same thing.   They work on them all season every year.  Theoretically with momentum and carry over the team should have less penalties the next season?  Nope and for the same reasons as above.

You would think that with a year of repetition the familiarity of the playbook and playing together would mean better performance the next season.  And that's been true when Kyle Shanahan was here.  Unfortunately with the rest of the staff that has not been the case.

If the offense can cut down on the redzone turn overs and make more of the plays that are there then the offense is going to be top 5.

 

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41 minutes ago, Boise Falcon Fan said:

I don't disagree with your post Geneaut, but where I have cause is the past results, and the fact that he still seems to indicate that preseason doesn't matter for the vets.  I think it does. This team needs to hit the ground running in the regular season, and it is important to be ready to do so. He needs to put at least a little more emphasis on the preseason and use it to prepare for the games that matter.

I can't argue with that. He does need a stronger emphasis on preseason. Not so much the results ( I don't care about W/L so much ) but he has to have this team hitting on all cylinders Game 1. Whatever he did in his first season he has to have ready for this season.

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7 minutes ago, Geneaut said:

I can't argue with that. He does need a stronger emphasis on preseason. Not so much the results ( I don't care about W/L so much ) but he has to have this team hitting on all cylinders Game 1. Whatever he did in his first season he has to have ready for this season.

I think some of the players are going to have to get themselves better prepared for preseason and regular season than maybe has been the case since Quinn got here. The exhibition games have been taken so lightly during his regime, other than deciding on a few fringe players, nothing else positive is accomplished the entire time.

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