In many ways this is classic coach speak, but if you come away from this quote feeling like Justin Hardy isn't ready for playing time, you read things very differently than I do.
Quinn: Justin Hardy has made a huge improvement and he's champing at the bit to get his shot. #ATLvsTEN— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 21, 2015
Hardy, a rookie fourth-rounder, came out of college with a reputation for sure hands, but hasn't been active once thus far in 2015. This led to a Free Justin Hardy movement from the fanbase and plenty of grousing, and I speculated earlier this week that the team simply didn't feel he was ready to contribute yet. I also knew that we wouldn't know when he was ready until the coaching staff came right out and told us, and judging by Quinn's comments, we're very close. This is good news for the offense, I'd say, especially because Hardy showed an immediate rapport with Matt Ryan in training camp and the preseason.
Here's an interesting update: Vaughn McClure interviewed Justin Hardy and found out he didn't even have a playbook in college. If you were looking for a reason why it might've taken Hardy a little time to get acclimated to the professional game, you've got one.
If Hardy is activated against the Titans, it's likely either Eric Weems or Nick Williams would be inactive in his place. Williams has been good for one clutch first down reception per game but isn't much of a special teams asset, while Weems has been the team's kick and punt returner, but doesn't offer much on offense. It's unclear what kind of special teams role Hardy will have, but I'd say it's obvious he can do more as a receiver than either of these guys.
There are no guarantees that we'll see Hardy this weekend, but it sounds like it's just a matter of time. I look forward to watching him contribute to an offense that could use a promising, sure-handed receiving option.