Dan Quinn spoke to the media afternoon regarding Sunday's statement win over Dallas. In his opening statement, Quinn called it a "really good team win," and said that the Falcons had expected a tough, hard-fought game, and they got exactly that.
Quinn said that Jacob Tamme is currently in the league's concussion protocol, and we'll get updates about Tamme's status throughout the week. Quinn also offered his thanks to fans for their support on the road.
"Just for the fans out there, it was great to see a lot of red and black on the road, and for the fans backing and supporting us, we appreciate that," Quinn said. "We know the Dome will be rocking come Sunday, so that is appreciated for sure."
Quinn said that the team didn't need to make huge adjustments after a less-than-stellar first half performance. They simply needed to correct the things they weren't doing well.
One of the things the team definitely wasn't doing well was tackling. Quinn noted that the team missed nine tackles in the first half, but they finished the game with 11 missed tackles, so they clearly cleaned it up in the second half.
"We missed nine tackles in the first half and ended up with eleven, so that was really uncomfortable, especially on the first three plays, which resulted in some really long runs," Quinn said. "So it's such an important part of what we do. We're just going to try like crazy to be one of the best fundamental teams we can, so to have those kinds of misses, it's something that we know we can get fixed, and we did — in fact, in that way, in the second half to go from nine to two I thought was a big jump. So it was a huge swing, I thought."
Quinn also gave his players credit for fighting back when they needed to do so.
"Give the defensive guys the credit for just coming back and saying, alright, we're down on the canvas, and it was only the first round, and knowing that the fight was going to have to go the distance, and they did," Quinn said.
There are certain things Quinn harps on regularly -- mindset, attitude, playing fast and physical, and playing for each other all come to mind. All of these elements were important in fighting to overcome a bad first half and pulling off the win yesterday.
"I think the thing we wanted to make sure is get really right back to the details. It wasn't necessarily a scheme error or player error ... we can do this ourselves, and let's make sure we come right back to how we want to get it fixed," Quinn said. "And there were some minor things that go, but it was really our mindset and our attitude that took over for us. We knew it was going to be a great fight, and like I said to the team, sometimes defensively, as hard as it was, it was great to see the connection there. There was never a pointing of a finger or, "Why don't you do that," or, "I'll do this." You can see how tight these guys are getting right in front of us, and that gets me as fired up as anything."
The difference between the team's first half performance and what we saw in the second half was remarkable. They were like two different teams. That's something we haven't seen from this Falcons team over the past couple of seasons. Many fans have asked what Quinn might have said or done at the half to galvanize his team.
Quinn paraphrased something he said to the team at the half.
"I think it was probably somewhere along the lines of, "We got punched in the mouth, and sometimes you've got to taste your own blood, and you don't like it. I think we'll find out a lot about who we are in this second half," and I think that happened," Quinn said. "We did find out a lot about who we are, how tight we are, and how hard we wanted to play for one another — the effort that it takes to play really good football."
Regardless of the improvement from one half to the next, Quinn says the tackling issues must be corrected, and it comes back to the fundamentals.
"I think it's more the technique of it. So like when we stop our feet, that's when, man, that tackling — it's so hard," Quinn said. "There's all this phasing. You stop your feet and the guy restarts. If you're not closing to the guy, that's when the missed tackles occur. In other words, all this space between you and I, if I don't keep coming, that's when the missed tackles occur. So we're going to keep drilling it like crazy just to get it down exactly right. We're a leverage-based tackling team. So many times I have someone there who can help. Let's make sure we've got the details just right."
Performances from Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones stand out for obvious reasons, but fullback Patrick DiMarco had probably his best game as a pro yesterday. He had some punishing blocks and was a big factor in helping Freeman be so productive on the ground.
Quinn credits DiMarco's intelligence and toughness.
"I think just the mindset to try and outhit, and some of the blocks that he had. He played very well on special teams — punt as well," Quinn said. "He's somebody we count on a lot. I think two of the adjectives, or two of the words that help me describe Pat DiMarco are "smart" and "tough," and those two things go a long way as a player. He knows where to be, and he's physical when he does it, and he's a really important guy to us."
For Quinn's Falcons, the preparation is the same from week to week. On Mondays, they work to correct anything that needs to be fixed from the previous day's game, and then they shift focus to the next opponent. They don't look back, and they don't look beyond the next game.
Quinn says that each week, they prepare as if the next game is a championship game.
"By allowing us to do that, today, we get all the corrections that we want to get with Dallas, get it right in, get it out, and then move as fast as we can right on to the next opponent. That way there's not anything that lingers from week to week," Quinn said. "So as far as the start goes, we just kind of try to get right back to the present moment and see how good we can get this week, and that's really where the focus goes as opposed to this game out, or this game out. I honestly don't look too many games out ahead."
Quinn said that William Moore has a knack for finding the ball, and he made it clear that he'd like to see the defense creating more turnovers across the board.
That was big, and one of the things we talked to the team — I think if you're a team that was in the plus this week, I think with the game going tonight, they're 10-1. And we know how important the ball is, so on the overthrown ball, it was good pressure by Stupar and to have that — William just has a knack for finding the ball, and those guys who can do that are so valuable, and we've got to bring more people with him who can take the ball away," Quinn said.
When the defense has created turnovers this season, the offense is definitely capitalizing on those opportunities.
"When we're getting the ball for the offense, they're actually — I think we only have four on the year, but I think there's three touchdowns and a kneel down after the turnovers have been given to the offense, and we've got to get more. We talk about it a lot. We're going to keep emphasizing it, and I think they're going to come. We're just getting started in terms of how bad we want to go after the football, so there's a lot of work to do there, but the mindset to go after it — William's certainly one of the guys on our defense who lives it."
Quinn also had praise for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, not just in terms of his play design and play calling, but his poise in the midst of the pressure of a NFL game.
"He has such a knack of how to attack, and he can go from one play to the next play, set one up, go to the next one," Quinn said. "I think that's one of the real gifts for him. During all the chaos of a game, he is able to keep the focus where some people — it's emotional, and what's the next one? Like, he is absolutely ready to get dialed in for the next one, and I think it's one of the real qualities about him."
An underrated aspect of the Falcons success so far this season has absolutely been special teams, particularly Matt Bryant and Matt Bosher.
Quinn said that Bosher's consistency and hangtimes have helped the coverage team do their jobs well.
"For all the times on kickoff, for Bosher to keep stepping up, hitting some big ones," Quinn said. "He had some big punts. I think we're more excited about our punting this week, where our gunners were really able to get downfield. He's a good return guy, and we knew that going in, we'd have our hands full, and the quickness that he has as a punt returner."
Bryant's consistency is also something Quinn respects, and he'd like to see the offense and defense emulate that consistency.
"I think one of the things we all respect about him so much is, each kick is the same — the approach, the way we go about it," Quinn said. "And I think both offensively and defensively, we all have a lot of respect for him because of that approach that he takes, where offensively and defensively, we're trying to do the same thing as well. Each play, each series, can we just treat it the same."
There's no question that Julio Jones has remarkable talent, but Quinn said that it's the talent coupled with the kind of competitor Jones is that really sets him apart from his peers.
"I think, in my experience, just from getting a chance to be around him every day, it's the competitor that sets him apart," Quinn said. "Physical skill, too, but there's that and then the added part of the competitor, like this rare, world-class talent, where the other half of it is this rare, world-class competitor, and I think you're putting both those two things together, and it makes a pretty unique guy."
Your thoughts on Quinn's press conference and yesterday's win?