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Dan Quinn and his merry band of roster evaluators have to start from scratch

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Fact: Dan Quinn once swam from Miami to Puerto Rico, just to grab a pina colada

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Player evaluation is a big part of what the Atlanta Falcons are doing right now. From free agency to draft strategy, it will inform every decision they make going forward. With so many Mike Smith era coaches hanging around, one might consider groupthink a threat. What if the assistants just push their guys, hindering Quinn's ability to construct his roster? But it's nothing to lose sleep over, because if Special Teams Coach Keith Armstrong's recent comments are any indication, Quinn is driving the bus.

"
We've talked about personnel the last couple of days," Armstrong said. "Obviously, I've lived with people. I've lived with some of the (players), so I know some of their attitudes and the positives-slash-negatives, if you want to go there about that. So, you have to be open and upfront about what guys can and can't do, and it'll be beneficial to them."

Armstrong said, however, that he's been reserved in sharing opinions of players, instead wanting Quinn and the rest of the staff to develop their own opinions.

Collaboration with your assistants is important, but it's no substitute for doing your homework and setting the tone. I'm with Armstrong here: Quinn has to develop his own opinions. As he does that, he might not like what he finds. That will result in cuts and may mean that some of our free agents walk. It's a process Quinn was hired to undertake, understanding it wouldn't be easy.

So what's Quinn looking for? He wants his guys to fit his approach. There's a great little anecdote in Ferrin's article, if you give it a read. It involves Quinn handing Armstrong a small piece of paper with the word "speed" emphatically underlined. Quinn knows where he's going, and he's tasked his assistants with getting him there.