Dan Quinn: Did We Know He’d Be This Good?


Dan Quinn has completely transformed the Atlanta Falcons in only four games. His team is 4-0 and a major player in the NFC. Did we know he’d be this good?

On Black Monday, the NFL world proclaimed that the newly vacant Atlanta Falcons Head Coaching position was the best available in football. The Falcons had the most established quarterback in 3x Pro Bowler Matt Ryan, a top flight receiving corps, and a team that was only two years removed from playing in an NFC Championship.

-= See Also: Terron Ward Shows Falcons’ Depth at RB =-

There were a few names that circulated around the Atlanta Falcons HC job, one of which was then Seattle Seahawks DC Dan Quinn. He had served under great football minds like Pete Carroll and Nick Saban, but was he ready to coach his own NFL team? He had only been an NFL Defensive Coordinator for two seasons.

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Admittedly, I was skeptical about Dan Quinn. I thought the Legion of Boom Defense he inherited in Seattle was of Pete Carroll and former DC Gus Bradley’s construction. Bradley left the Pacific Northwest for the Jacksonville Jaguars job after the 2012 NFL Season.

However, when it became clear that Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank was going to go with Dan Quinn over Todd Bowles, Rex Ryan, and Josh McDaniels, I decided to trust Arthur’s judgement on hiring Quinn as the new Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

Quinn’s first press conference as Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons forever changed the game with this franchise. Never before had I felt the confidence emanate from a new coach in Atlanta sports history like it did when Dan Quinn took the podium that Tuesday. Right then, I knew he was the right man for the job. He was going to rectify the lackluster play in Atlanta, but I didn’t know that it would happen in the first snap of the preseason.

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Being in the Georgia Dome for the first game in the preseason against the Tennessee Titans, I saw a defense that was playing with more conviction than any Falcons teams I had seen in a decade. The offense was a fluid as it gets, with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones completely mastering the new playbook of OC Kyle Shanahan in a matter of months.

The players took to heart Dan Quinn’s “Championship Sunday” mentality and came back to training camp in the best football shape of their lives. When front seven players are committing themselves to losing weight to fit into the 4-3 Under defensive scheme, you know it’s for real. The team united and unanimously bought into what Dan Quinn was preaching.

However, two issues remained with this football team: the offensive line and the running game. It seemed that the pass rush/front seven play had been adequately addressed both through the draft and in free agency, but were we preparing for another season of Matt Ryan living on his back due to a porous offensive line?

After the final preseason game, Dan Quinn exercised his power to make drastic personnel decisions to get some players who could fit into Shanahan’s ZBS. The team traded for LG Andy Levitre from the Tennessee Titans and cut C Joe Hawley in favor of new starting Mike Person. Now we enter Week 5 with one of the most balanced front fives in football.

Through four games, Dan Quinn has proven to Rise Up Nation that he can get his players to play their best football when it counts: in the fourth quarter. Nobody wins three straight come from behind victories, much less start the season out in that fashion, must less with a first-time head coach.

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  • Putting up 25 unanswered points on the road in Dallas to win 39-28 did not seem possible, but Dan Quinn’s Atlanta Falcons accomplished that. For me, I needed to see one more thing to prove that the Atlanta Falcons had one special coach: to clobber an inferior opponent at home. Lo and behold, the Atlanta Falcons did just that in Week 4, eviscerating the Houston Texans, 48-21.

    Rising up through the ranks at his previous stops (Miami Dolphins, University of Florida, Seattle Seahawks), perhaps his former colleagues knew something about Dan Quinn that we weren’t ready for: that Dan Quinn was going to become the next great Head Coach in the National Football League.

    I could sense that the Atlanta Falcons would play better in 2015, but I couldn’t rationalize a 4-0 start to the season. The culture change is real, Atlanta. Please get behind this team and the man responsible for it: Dan Quinn.

    Next: Atlanta Falcons: 5 Things Learned Vs. Texans

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