New Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is a saavy guy. He knows football, he knows how to motivate guys, and he knows how to assemble a defense. Yes, folks, he's more than some rugged facial hair and a shiny head - the man is talented! But at some point, the talking will need to end, and the on-the-field results will be all that matters.
Talk, talk, and more talk: that's been the theme of a turbulent off-season at Flowery Branch. While the Falcons made some saavy moves in free agency, they splashed less than a geriatric swan diver. The thought is that big money free agent signings aren't a necessary part of revamping the defense. During this process, we've heard an awful lot about the importance of attitude. It tends to go in one ear and out the other, but what does that really mean?
"It all starts with attitude," Reed said. "Just a general attitude change that the coaches will bring in, and I think they know how to do that; they've done it in the past. Everyone is excited about what's going on here, and there's no doubt that there's going to be more intensity on this defense, and I think you'll see that."
I'm as fond of a good rah rah session as anyone. I like when the coaching staff, players, front office, etc. are saying the right things. That said, at some point, you're ready for some action. You're ready for all the aforementioned people to practice what they preach.
I'm not trying to criticize Quinn or his approach. And I'll say this: I believe in Quinn long-term. Given some time, he can put a solid defense on the field. It's not clear, however, that "attitude" will make all the difference this year. It's akin to fans criticizing players for a lack of caring. "These guys don't care about winning!" is a common refrain when things aren't going well. In my mind, that's patently false the vast majority of the time. You'd have a difficult time finding an NFL player who used apathy to achieve his success. The same holds true with "attitude."
To some degree, I'm only playing devil's advocate here. Team culture does make a difference, and a culture of winning is what the Falcons want to establish. To get there, they believe an "attitude adjustment" is essential. By promoting a codependant, symbiotic, and dynamic culture, Quinn will seek to recreate his successes in Seattle.