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Falcons got back to basics during the bye week

The team used this week as an opportunity to focus on fundamentals.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons had the luxury of a first-round playoff bye this week, and the team used that time to focus on getting back to basics.

It’s a rare opportunity for a team outside of the offseason. During the regular season bye week, teams are typically focused on rest and recovery from the grind of game after physical game. The Falcons, under head coach Dan Quinn, have maintained the priority of getting a little bit better each week, and that’s how they spent the bye week.

“It’s been a fun week, not having to game plan and study for somebody else and really studying yourself,” fullback Patrick DiMarco said. “It’s something that you don’t do much in season, but you do a lot in the offseason. So I think it’s going to be huge for us moving forward.”

Quinn said coaches and players spent the early part of the week focusing on themselves, and now it’s time for the coaching staff to start preparing for Atlanta’s potential divisional round opponents.

While this is Quinn’s first playoff bye as a head coach, it is something he has experience with from his time with the Seattle Seahawks.

“It is a challenge for sure … knowing that it could be a couple of them, but it’s a process that lots of people go through, and we have, too,” Quinn said. “So we know what that process feels like and looks like, and how much do you do on each opponent prior to — enough to you can get ready, but not the final game plan, because really, that’s what next week’s for.”

The coaching staff did talk to players about how to handle the bye, in terms of getting rest and taking a break while still ensuring they’ll be fully ready for next week’s game.

Quinn wasn’t concerned about players getting in trouble or making bad decisions over the break.

“A couple of things we talked about — the first one was rule one, protecting our team,” Quinn said. “We’ve got a lot of good football guys, and they’re hanging together. They’re going to do some things together here as a team over the next few days. I’m sure they’ll watch games together.

“And then past that, just coming back right, the rest and recovery part. That is important, as is having a plan for this downtime. So that’s what we discussed with the team.”

The Wild Card Round games kick off today with two games. The Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans kick off at 4:35 p.m. ET, and the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks face off against each other at 8:15 p.m. ET. Tomorrow’s games are the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers at 1:05 p.m. ET, and the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers at 4:40 p.m. ET.