Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
What have you seen from the Saints defense without Marshon Lattimore?
"Yeah, I think number one, I think they've got real versatility. You know, that's what really jumped out to me.I think we've known about, obviously how good Vonn (Bell) and Marcus (Williams) are, but then, Chauncey (Gardner-Johnson) you saw going inside to play inside at nickel and I think when you see safeties who've got versatility, corners who have versatility. Obviously anytime you lose somebody, for even a short period, as good as a (Marshon) Lattimore is, it's difficult, but credit the whole group. I thought their versatility allows them to really stay connected to how they want to play and I think they're proven they can do that."
What is your opinion for the league to have multiple people in the review booth deciding calls?
"My first response, I ain't touching on that with a 10 foot pole. My second one, I think, like there's a lot of good football people, if you get a good football people in a room that's good, but just make sure they're at like as a head coach or him as a play caller, people will throw plays at them. But at the final, who's the one that makes the final one, you know? I haven't thought anything about it, but the first thing came to my head. I think it's always good to have another opinion, but somebody still has to be the one to say, yeah, see what you're saying. But no, or yeah, that's how we should go. But there still has to be one person to say yay or nay on the challenge or on the thing to go and so with the amount of games like the one o'clock games, I would imagine those are the, the most challenging because there's multiple games going on in the evenings. I think it'd be pretty simple to say, okay, here's my game and these three or four people. But, um, I think, what the league is willing to do and I'm sure everybody is like, however we have to do to get exactly right. That's what the fans deserve and the teams deserve. And so I think that's what we got to continue to work to."
Does your injury report concern you at all heading into this week?
"Yeah, I think when you get to that, like you just said a moment ago, like everybody's dealing with them. And I think sometimes when they come up, we have a better sense of who's where, but Monday is the hardest day and guys just got done the game. And so those are usually the toughest days for them. And so I'm sure as the week goes on, all the people that are playing, I guess there's probably must be 16, that'll get shorter as the week goes from an injury standpoint. But we recognize you're right in the middle of it and end of November and as December begins to start, um, there usually is somebody you got to fight your way through that. And certainly the good teams do. But, um, yeah, I think we just know for that week, this is how we gotta handle it and you just generally don't think too far down the line. And you're trying to make sure the guys that you're putting in, you're asking them to do the things that they do well. It's one thing to say to accommodate the next man up, but, can he guard or can even run routes like that person it's not quite the next man up in some instances, but everybody has to deal with them, I think no better example than New Orleans at quarterback and they certainly played really well with Teddy (Bridgewater). And then when Drew came back, obviously he didn't miss a beat, but I thought that's a clear example of stepping in and delivering when the team needs you to."
How does the short week play into that?
"Yeah, I think the players and it's the hardest on the guys who've never done it. The guys who have done it and a lot of the veterans have played on a Thursday game or a short week. So they have some familiarity with it, the rookies that you want to make sure, alright. What's the plan and how's it going to go to make sure that, you can nail and deliver each day like you need to from the coaching side. We install, as the week would go and we have a few days to get the install in. But for the newest players or anybody who's going through it for the first time, you want to make sure their plan is right and intact as it gets on your fast. The veterans they're pretty good at it. They want to make sure I know how to get my body ready in that short amount of time. But I think it's the hardest, like most things are just the first time I'm trying this and then I'll know what will work moving forward. The guys who played for a while, I think they've got the short week down today. This works for me and from the coaching side, we're just making sure the game plan stays intact and we can make sure the guys who were going to ask them to do the certain roles that they're able to do it. That's probably the hardest part from the coaching side for the player who may or may not be available. Can you count on that player's role in the game plan or not?"
Does it help any that you played the Saints so recently in terms of game planning?
"I think it helps for both sides. I'd say it probably helps if it's your second lap through. I think if it's a division game that players know one another best. I think that's probably the bigger push where anytime you're going (against) your division team and you'replaying them a second time there's probably more familiarity than from the year because all teams change year to year. Obviously, the feature players or new players and how would they fit into the offense? You've had some time, but I think it's probably more challenging when you do the Thursday games in the early part of the year because that might be your first go against them. I like when they do it for the division games, I think that's maybe the best way. There's natural competition amongst them. It'snot always worked out that way, but I kind of favor the divisional match-ups for the Thursday games. I think it adds something to it."
What have you seen from the way the Saints have used their defensive linemen this year?
"Here's what I know, all these guys are really good athletes and they can move and so stunts and games and they've caused a number of tackles for losses this year just by their ability to shoot a gap or across one. I think they've got a good rotation of players and they try to feature them in the things that they do well, but I've been particularly impressed just by their movement and coordination to do that. It's disruptive in the run game. And then for a long time I thought DA (Dennis Allen) and the guys had a good pressure package, especially on third downs when you can provide the quarterback one look and then it has to go to a second one. I think that's the tell of a good disguising third down package. I think they've really shown they can do that. But I thought, to answer your first question, I have certainly been impressed by how hard their D-line plays and they're able to create movement. I think that's disruptive."
You showed so much improvement in those first two games after the bye and then didn't play as well on Sunday. Can you just speak to the unpredictability of the NFL from week to week in general?
"You put it more kindly than I did to the team so I appreciate that. It's every week you got to have your game right and battle for it. That's the total challenge and mentally to focus right, physically making sure you're ready to play with the energy and toughness that it takes to play that well. That's why you have to tip your hat to New Orleans about playing this consistently well for a long time. That's the challenge. The veteran players have a sense for that and they can build on that. The newer players, they start to capture that and what it takes and how to go about it. But from a coaching side, that's the thing we're always chasing is that consistency. It's is not a sexy word because it's not done overnight. It's built over time. For us to have two that we took two steps forward and then took a step back, that's disappointing, but certainly credit Tampa, they played well. In our game you just have those moments and you miss them. You don'tget a second laugh at them. You've got to make sure when the moment comes you got to go nail it. I think it does speak to the league, but also speaks also to our division. I think we have tough division although some of the records may not indicate some of it as the years pass because this is a tough division and always has been and as far as itconcerned always will be."
I'm asking you this less I guess as an NFL coach and more a guy who's just kind of been around football your whole life, but is there any significance to you being out there on Thanksgiving day playing football?
"There definitely is. I think at this time of year, there's a lot that we talk about during this week of what we're thankful for. For me, there's no question the game has meant so much to me. To have a chance to share it with the team and get a chance to play a division game at night those are so much fun to be a part of. You have a lot of thanks and knowing how important this game has been to your life and more important than the game It's like the people that have connected you to it. Whether that's you're coming up and playing Pop Warner or high school ball or into college, there's so many people that have helped you get to where you're at. All of us players, coaches, whatever part of the team you are. I think that's one of the coolest moments. I love on Thursday getting calls from people around the country and giving out some calls to about people who've meant so much to me in my past. So yes, it's a cool day. It means a lot to me personally to me for sure."