While Dan Quinn's hiring was widely expected and has been for a few weeks, the Falcons made it official last night, and today Atlanta's new head coach addressed the media from the Falcons' training facility in Flowery Branch. Quinn shared details about his offensive and defensive philosophies, his approach to the transition from coordinator to head coach, and much more.
Arthur Blank opened the press conference and said the search was focused and thorough, and that the committee considered all kinds of candidates, including college coaches. Blank said the team had no bias in terms of offensive or defensive experience base when considering candidates. "We wanted a coach who would provide leadership through all three phases of the game and add, additionally, leadership to our building and our franchise."
"We told you from the outset we were looking for a leader with a clear vision for success," Blank said, "someone who had great skills in terms of being a motivator, bright and decisive, someone who's innovative...somebody who would be a great cultural fit for the franchise."
Based on Quinn's demeanor during the press conference, it's easy to believe that the Falcons found that guy.
Not surprisingly, Quinn said that his focus over the last month was making sure that the Seahawks were as prepared as they could be for their playoff run and that he owed that to the ownership, Pete Carroll, and Seattle's fans. Quinn thanked the Falcons for being willing to wait for him. "I can't wait to build a similar championship environment right here in Atlanta," Quinn said.
"I know we have an extremely passionate fan base here in Atlanta," Quinn said, "and I want them to know that the brand of football we're going to play is going to be fast and physical." Quinn said that there are many challenges related to this transition, but that he's looking forward to getting started attacking those challenges today.
As far as his approach to shoring up this defense, Quinn said that fundamentals are key. "One of our goals here, we're trying to be the best fundamental team in football," Quinn said. Rugby tackling, which Quinn employed in Seattle, will be a part of that.
In terms of building the defense, Quinn said that the biggest key is effort, and effort is always going to be a priority. "We want to be really aggressive in terms of the way we attack the football," Quinn said. "Those two things, in terms of our effort and the way we attack the ball, will always be at the front of our conversations. Past that, we're going to play as fast and physical as we can." Quinn said that it won't necessarily be the scheme that matters, but how they play it.
"We'll try to best feature the players that we have," Quinn said, emphasizing that he's looking forward to getting to know the players and better understanding what he has to work with on both sides of the ball. He said that process starts tonight.
On the challenges involved not only with being a first time head coach, but also turning around a team that has struggled over the past two seasons, Quinn said the biggest challenge for him is how quickly he can get connected and get to know the players here in Atlanta. "The best teams I've been a part of are teams that are close, so I'm anxious to get around these guys and get to know them."
In light of the talent Quinn had to work with in Seattle, are you curious what Dan Quinn's type of player looks like? "My kind of guy is somebody who plays fast and physical," Quinn said. "Really, playing good defensive football starts with a mindset and attitude first." Quinn said that there are a number of players here who fit what he's looking for defensively.
On having the opportunity to work with a quarterback like Matt Ryan, Quinn said he's very fortunate to work with a quarterback as accomplished as Ryan. On his offensive philosophy, Quinn said that the number one thing is balance. "I've always admired teams that have a tough, physical style," Quinn said. "For me, the number one criteria is going to be balance."
Quinn was asked how far he believes the Falcons are from returning to 2012 form, and Quinn said that each season, and the challenges it presents, is different. "For us, the biggest thing is not looking too far ahead," Quinn said. "It's how good can we get right now? How good can OTAs be? How good can this offseason be? We're trying to have the best offseason we could ever have."
We'll break down many of Quinn's comments in greater detail over the next few days, but for now, weigh in with your thoughts on Quinn in the comments.