Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is usually good for an insightful quote when it comes to breaking down the Xs and Os of the game, and is always friendly in a press conference.
Rarely is he brutally honest.
When asked by ESPN’s Vaughn McClure about the defensive line’s effort to stop the run in Wednesday’s press conference, Quinn did not mince words to answer his question. Well, he just used one.
It’s as frank an assessment of his team as we’ve seen Quinn give in some time. It is refreshing to see Quinn this brutally honest.
Obviously, he’s not wrong, as the team is surrendering an average of about 130 yards a game and has let up 200 or more yards on the ground twice this season (at Cleveland, vs. Baltimore).
Outside of guys like Keanu Neal and Deion Jones, key cogs to run defense, the team has missed Derrick Shelby, but the loss of Dontari Poe in still felt.
Quinn expanded onto what he’s looking for in his defensive line.
“Number one, when we play our eight-man fronts, I expect us to stack the box and play really good, aggressive, single-gap control football,” he said. “I expect us to have ability to hit the quarterback and create takeaways that way. That’s a key part of playing really good defensive line play.
“At the end of the year, you hope they can force some interceptions based on the way they can rush and get somebody out of the pocket. I expect to see relentless effort. Those are a few of the things I look for in a defensive line.”
It’s not great that the defensive line is playing so poorly, but it is good to see Quinn be open and firm about that. He’s probably going to have to do some of the hardest coaching of his career down the stretch and make harder decisions this offseason.