Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn knows how to coach a defense. His pedigree as a premier defensive mind is unquestionable. But his ability to convert a decidedly bad defense into a respectable one over the course of 18 months is less than clear. I'll say this: he's trying. He's really trying.
Sunday's game was a microcosm for where this team is right now. The offense is one of if not the league's best. If all goes according to plan, they can put up 30-40 points. The persistent wildcard, of course, is the defense. Much improved from a year ago, they're still young and inexperienced. But what they lack in repetitions, they make up for with speed and raw talent. And for now, Quinn doesn't expect them to be perfect. He just wants to see them progress. (Credit to The Mothership's Andrew Hirsh for this very telling quote from Quinn's presser earlier today.)
"We're learning, we're growing, but we're not there yet. We have a lot of growing to do," he added. "For us, we have ways to adjust and not allow as many of the explosives as we have. We're disappointed we had so many in the game this past week."
This is a process. It's a process that is at times infuriating, but to be frank, we can't fairly expect the current personnel to simply dominate their opponents. In a year or two, sure, that'd be a fair expectation. But right now, we just need them to keep trending in the direction. They're getting there; slowly but surely, they're getting there.