Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Wednesday, September 19, 2018
What's the biggest difference between Devonta Freeman and (Tevin) Coleman?
"That's a good question. I'll say one, for Freeman, the change of the direction that he plays with, sometimes it's faith. He may try to break a guy off where Tev may try to use that angle and see if he can break leverage with speed. In the run game, I'd say the style is pretty similar. I only say that because of our system that we run. We try to put one cut in the ground and then get vertical violently, one cut, and then get vertical. I'd say their differences come in the pass game. Their similarities in the run game I'd say are due to the system as well."
How nice is to have a player like (Tevin) Coleman to lean on when (Devonta) Freeman can't go?
"It speaks to the depth. The Saints certainly going into this game, usually you are talking about two running backs that are really playing well. Both teams are fortunate that, because of the depth in the backfield, they really have other guys that are more than capable obviously. It speaks to the depth of both teams. Teco's (Tevin Coleman) someone we've really leaned on and he has just gotten better and better as his time has been here. I think going into his fourth year now he really has the system, the understanding, and all the things that you are looking for to develop. It has kind of hit full stride."
Does it make the preparation any different with Mark Ingram not being around?
"That's a good question. We didn't think so because a lot of the time their offense has been like us where they like to have balance. Although Ingram is a good player you don't want to downplay that. We didn't think the offensive changed as much because of them being committed to run like we are. I didn't sense that it changed as much without him, but just how you feature the players would be different. Obviously, when you have two guys and you can feature them like you want that's nice because how does third down factor into it? Those are circumstances that sometimes can be there, but I think the scheme part still feels the same to me."
What have you seen from the Saints running game? It obviously hasn't been as successful to this point as we've seen it be just last year.
"I think sometimes the narrative outside the building you know can paint a picture. By no stretch is anybody where they are going to be (where they want to be) after two games. We went through kind of the same thing two weeks ago in the red zone. We were doom and gloom and then we played better in the red zone last week. All that says is there's a lot of work to be done. There's lot of improvement to be made. They've got talented guys, they've got a talented team, so we know they're more than equipped to do that, but they're just really kind of getting things rolling. I don't dig too deep into things very early into the year from a statistical standpoint."
What are your impressions of the NFC South so far? It looks like all the teams are playing at a pretty good level.
"You may hear the line like 'expect the expected.' We really came into the season and last season as well where we thought this is going to be the most competitive division in the league and it certainly seems like that's going to be the case. We've got a long way to go and a lot to play for, but for us to have some division games right off the bat, we like that. Last year didn't play in division games till later. We really stacked them in the end, in terms of the division games. This year they're a little more spread out for us. I just have a sense based on the play of the teams, the talent of the rosters, the intensity of the games. I think it's going to be one hell of a division and the team that you know leaves with winning the division will have damn sure earned it because they would have to beat some excellent football teams to take that, but that's a long way away. I just think right now these four teams in this division are really on their game and I think it's going to be a hell of a battle."
Talking about the Saints, obviously Michael Thomas has gotten off to a terrific start. Are you expecting to see some of the other guys emerge soon just because of what he's been doing?
"I got to think first off like he must have come in with one hell of an offseason and training camp because he is really hitting his stride right from the get go. I've always been impressed by the aggressiveness that he can go (after) the big catch. He's doing quite a bit after the catch as well. The catch and run plays, the in breaking routes, some of those that jump out to me as exceptional plays. Let's face it, they're equipped to attack in a lot of different ways. Michael (Thomas) right now is on his game, but by no stretch have we said 'Ok it's just these players or just how the statistics would look.' We know they've got a big stable of guys that can make plays in a lot of ways, but we have been very impressed by Michael and his start."
How does coverage impact how the offensive line protects? Would the offensive line ever change a protection based on a coverage?
"When an offensive line would change a protection sometimes on a coverage that could be like a blitz look for sure. If it had been a change at the line of scrimmage, an offense certainly could. In other words, you're going from one play to another play. A run to a pass, a pass to pass based on the look. So yes their protections could change at the line of scrimmage based on a coverage yes."
You talk about blitz looks, is it strange to you that one of your DB's is tied for the lead on the team with sacks?
"I think that would have to go back to one of the early season statistics, but if that's the case when we're talking a long time from now, yeah we will definitely have a good visit about it. But I think for today we don't have enough in general, so the fact a DB is tied for the lead, it kind of tells you my feelings about where our pass rush needs improvement."
Is there something that Brian (Poole) does well though as a blitzer?
"Yes. One, I think being at a nickel – what is unique about him is not a lot of the guys that play in the slot are as big as he is. He is about 210, almost 215 pounds so his strength to play in the slot is different. Oftentimes a guy who plays in the slot is a smaller player who can really change direction. On our team, it just so happens our slot receiver Mohamed (Sanu) and our nickel DB are bigger. It was not by design. It's just that is where their skill sets are to make them a good blitzer. He's an excellent tackler. So when a quarterback tries to avoid or escape, he has the athleticism to change direction and finish off the sack. So it is more his intent and toughness really. On the flip side of things, he is not beating a lot of backs with special moves or anything like that. It is more just the intent and toughness. And I do admire that part of his game. He is a straight competitor."
How is your team responded to some of the significant injuries you guys have had?
"Yeah for sure it's hard for us. We lost a guard, Andy Levitre, who's been an excellent player for us for the last few years. For him, sometimes the loss is on the field which it is with Andy, but it could also be in the locker room because some of the teammates they are, and the impact they can have on others, and influence they can have. The good news is as we're getting started here on this year, a number of these players had lots of reps as they're going through training camp so it's not like they're getting in for the first time to learn a new thing. So we have a lot of faith and trust in them. Oftentimes these guys who are put into these roles haven't been in when they have extended playing time. But when they get their opportunities and they nail it, it's a good feeling. We expect that to be the case with some of these men."
Is there anything specific that makes Julio Jones who he is as a player?
"I would say probably the thing that no one really gets to recognize, but I certainly do is the way that he practices. It makes the other players around him better. It makes the DB's better because he treats them like game reps where he finishes after the catch for 70 yards. He treats every one that he's just going to battle to get ready. So I really respect that part of his game. You see the in-game product – the talent and the toughness and I guess the range. What I see is the stuff during the week that gets them ready. Probably the one physical attribute that he has that a lot of other people don't, he can be in the air and off balance and still land on his feet to extend the play. So sometimes you might see a guy go up for a catch and he secures the catch and on the way down it was a fantastic catch but he falls to the ground and that was the end of the play, With him, oftentimes he'll go up for the catch and then even if his body is in a funky angle, he'll be able to land on one foot or two feet and extend the play. So quite a few of his explosive plays are the extension going up for a ball. There's not a stat on that but it does make him unique that where most guys may have to jump and dive for something where he stays on its feet a good bit of the time."
Is there a different feel around the facility on Saints week?
"For me, now being my fourth year in the rivalry for it, I think for the division games it's a lot of fun to go through because the teams know each other, the players know each other, the fan bases like going against one another. So we know the importance of it. We're really pumped that we get this matchup here at home. Both stadiums are loud and fun as hell to be a part of. I'm sure ours will be rocking this weekend, and come Thanksgiving, the people in New Orleans will throw a hell of a Thanksgiving night as well. So we can't wait to get it going."