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What identity will the Dan Quinn Falcons possess?

It won't be the same as the Falcons you're used to, if all goes well.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons will be crafting a new identity under Dan Quinn. What will that identity be?

The easy answer is "one with a better defense," but that sells this team a little short. Under Mike Smith, the Falcons started out as a smashmouth offense with an opportunistic defense and eventually morphed into a refined passing attack with an opportunistic defense. In no incarnation was that defense truly good, but it was enough to get the job done until the wheels started to fall off the defense and the offense was wracked by injuries and a lack of running plays. The common thread between all those teams was that defense, and when Dan Quinn talks about "fast" and "physical," he's using more than buzzwords. The last Falcons defense got by more on guile and turnovers than pure speed and physicality, and that's a tightrope you can't walk forever.

The hope, then, is that Quinn's defense is the kind of hard-hitting, extremely competent unit he enjoyed in Seattle, if very different in the particulars of how that defense is run and who is actually playing in it. A Falcons team with an identity as a tough, physical defensive squad would be a Falcons team with a much better chance at sustained success under Quinn.

Offensively, this team won't be quite as vertically-focused, but any offense with Julio Jones will still be capable of greatness in that regard. With Roddy White, Jacob Tamme and Justin Hardy on the team, Matt Ryan's going to be looking for a lot of quick, short strikes to keep the offense moving, while Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman do the bulk of the work on the ground. Coleman's speed and Freeman's shiftiness in the open field—and I'm not mentioning Antone Smith here because he's only signed for a year—will give this team new life in that regard. Ideally this team will be much more focused on the run, and the true transformation will hopefully come on the defensive side.

So long as the offense can at least be above average, in other words, this team can be known as a defense-first set of Atlanta Falcons and we'll likely be better for it. If as Ryan ages this winds up being a ground-first defensive team in the very loose mold of the 2012-2014 Seahawks, again, we won't be complaining.

Anyways, I rambled. Describe this team's future identity in a few short words, if you would.