One of my favorites? Dan Quinn is 100% the guy we joked was a little too enthusiastic when he first got here. Maybe we were too used to Mike Smith’s persona that rarely changed whether the team had a stunning win or multiple losses in a row. Quinn was fired up in his first press conference, but usually the Falcons can break a good man.
The Falcons did not break Quinn. Quinn remade the Falcons into something I haven’t seen in a long time in Atlanta: a group of players excited to run, hit, and play. These guys show up in big games.
His players explain that Quinn is a different type of coach. Former NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels wrote about his time with Quinn, and had an interesting memory from camp.
I played for the Miami Dolphins during the 2005 season under Nick Saban. Dan Quinn was one of the younger coaches on the staff and his players, the defensive line, absolutely loved him. He was passionate, smart, energetic, and relatable. He was the first coach I ever saw wear football cleats to practice, as he liked to teach by example, running through the drills and coaching technique at full speed. I always thought this was a great idea and wondered why more coaches didn’t emulate him.
Quinn has been hands-on since the start. I was impressed when he worked in one-on-one drills with guys who were unlikely to make the roster. That was definitely new in Flowery Branch, and it has had a big impact in Atlanta.
Even veteran Dwight Freeney agrees. He called Quinn the “most unique coach” he has ever worked with, and recently gushed about Atlanta’s head coach.
"Immediately when I sat down with him we were connecting. We had that energy, and that's what it was," Freeney explained Monday night. "And the funny thing was Atlanta wasn't even on my radar. I didn't know anything about the NFC South. . . . Freeney raised a few eyebrows when he revealed to NFL Network's Tiffany Blackmon that Quinn is the "most unique coach" he's ever encountered.
Writer Chris Wesseling points out that Freeney has played under both Bruce Arians and Tony Dungy. His enthusiasm for Quinn should be even more notable. One thing we have heard frequently is he gets people to buy in. Not just players. The Falcoholic’s own Jeanna Thomas has said before that Quinn makes her want to run through a brick wall.
"It's just the way he connects with the players," Freeney told Blackmon. "I mean I've never been excited for team meetings in my life. When I come here, I'm excited. ... He has all these things to keep you interested and engaged. He does an amazing job. Seriously."
Multiple players point to Quinn as the reason the Falcons made it this far. It is clear offensive and defensive players love their head coach, and are completely prepared to leave it all on the field against the New England Patriots.