Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
What would it mean for Devonta Freeman to reach 1,000 yards rushing this season?
"He is such a unique guy. All of the way back from the spring when I got here, you sense his energy on the practice field, like the way that (you feel about) a guy you want to battle (with) and compete for. For him to have an opportunity to rush for that number would be significant, only because of the attitude and mindset he has gone after it for us. It's honestly one of the things that I admire of him most, his toughness, but it's really the competitor that's in him. You have seen that in full effect this year."
What was it like to give Carolina its first loss? Did you guys take any satisfaction in being the first team to do that?
"Honestly, it wasn't regarding being the first team to do that. I wanted to see how our team would respond. We had played up in Carolina just two weeks earlier and man, we were beaten and we were embarrassed. That one left a mark for sure. We wanted to see how we'd respond more than anything. Although it may seem like well, you're the first team to knock them off, it was way more personal for us to know what our best looked like against theirs. We knew what our worst looked like so I was as anxious as could be to see how we'd respond to not playing well just two weeks ago. I think that was the biggest factor for us, to make sure that we had our own football in order."
Having seen Carolina twice this season, what kind of run do you think they can make in the playoffs?
"You go through the close games, (for instance) you guys had one (against Carolina) for sure that went right down to the wire. It could've gone either way. When you go into the playoffs, some of it is the matchup. Certainly playing on your home field is a significant advantage, when you're not dealing with the travel. As it gets into the matchups, I can't call that unless I know who they're playing. Both sides of the line of scrimmage were playing really well for them. They're able to run it and they are able to stop the run. Those are significant things as you're getting to the postseason, knowing that your line of scrimmage is playing well. The last thing that sets them apart this year is the turnover margin where they are way out in front. Those are the things that, in my opinion, have allowed them to play so well. If they're able to run it, stop the run, get a couple of takeaways and take care (of the ball), they'll be hard to handle, just like they have been all year."
Given the way the season started for you guys, is it disappointing to be in the final week with nothing to play for?
"That part for sure is a reality that we did have to talk about. Not trying to replay what happened or look back (because) after the season they'll have plenty of time to look back. Honestly, the message has just been about us playing our ball together this week. We will leave some of that reflection into next week. We know the challenge ahead with (the Saints) coming into town and all of the unique stuff that it brings. We were not going to spend too much time on the consequences of us going through a bad stretch there. We are just trying to get back to playing ball like we like to, and then we'll deal with the next thing when it comes."
You coached both Kevin Williams and Brandon Browner in Seattle. Kevin has had a really great year and has exceeded expectations in a lot of ways. For Brandon, it probably has to be the roughest stretch of his career. When watching film on Brandon, is there anything that you can see as the reason why it has gone so wrong for him this year?
"I'll start with (Kevin) first – he's honestly one of the people I respect the most in this league. You'll see him making good plays. He has instincts for a big guy that allow him to have a knack for what plays are about to happen, and he's able to communicate that to the other guys. For Kev, I am looking forward to seeing him this weekend. Even though I only coached him for a year, he is one that I respect a bunch. With Brandon, it is the strength and line of scrimmage play that he plays with. He is one of the toughest competitors that I have had the chance to work with. From that standpoint of going through tough times, the guy's filled with grit and toughness. When you get called out (by the fans or media), trust me, this guy is as tough as they get. In terms of being able to handle it, for sure he can. I do know this – he is going to bring every single thing he has each week. That's what I expect from Brandon."
Atlanta Falcons Running Back Devonta Freeman
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday December 30, 2015
What will getting to the 1,000 yard milestone mean to you early in your career?
"It would mean a lot. Just starting my young career, but (in my) second season as a starter getting 1,000 yards and accomplishing everything that I'm accomplishing right now with the touchdowns and total yards from scrimmage. I think it means a lot, (I) definitely set a high standard for myself and now I have to just have the best offseason I can and get back to week 1 (One), but as far as right now just take some time off. First I'm going to finish strong and then take a little time off and get my body right and go from there."
What was last week like giving Carolina their first loss?
"I feel like it really was about us and we're just growing as a team, coaching staff, (and) players. We're finding our identity and what works against hard teams and physical defenses. We are just learning and it definitely felt good to just go out there and get that win after they laughed at us in our face. That's the best payback I feel like you can give somebody back without physically doing anything illegal."
Do you have any sense of what kind of playoff run they could have?
"I wish them the best of luck. I won't follow them too much. I'll watch the games and stuff like that and hope they make it to the Super Bowl. (If they) Go out there and play the football like they have been playing. I feel like the sky is the limit for them. After the loss it will really challenge the team. I just feel like they can't tank right now. It's a time where they fix their problems and go higher and go to the Super Bowl."
Are you surprised to be at this point now to be out of contention for the playoffs?
"It's football and any given Sunday anything can happen. I just feel like we just need to learn from it and all we can do is learn from it. Football season will come back around in no time. Whatever happens, happens. Right now it's just about finishing strong and coming back trying to have the best offseason."
Do you know Travaris Cadet at all from Miami Central High School?
"Yes, he went to Miami Central, but I wasn't there (when he attended). He played quarterback and was real talented, but I didn't go to school with him. I've met him (before). He would always come back just to stay hello. We had new coaches by the time he left."