Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Was it all surprising to you that Drew Brees was able to come back after five weeks from the thumb injury?
“How do you get better after missing five games? I don’t know. Not only did he not miss a beat, he played fantastic, I thought in the game. No, it doesn't surprise me. For a long time (I’ve) just been ridiculously impressed by his consistency to perform well and that's a real challenge to do that over and over. I think he sets a standard of consistency and he just never seems to back off. When you're playing against it, a quarterback of his caliber, you better have your focus, right. You better have everything squared away because if not he’ll make you pay.”
How difficult is it just to slow down Michael Thomas since he’s leading the league in receptions and yards?
“Yeah, exactly. When you’re that successful I think, it's there and one of the things I've been impressed by, through the years, facing them both here and when I was out in Seattle, as well, was their ability to utilize the backs and for a long time that's been a consistent part of things. Yes, Michael for sure has proven not only as the leader in receptions, but in yards and makes contested tough catches, but, the way that the backs have been used through the years, whoever they've been, I have always been impressed by that. Those two positions, Michael at the (wide receiver) position and the running backs, they create for a lot of offense and it's been that way for a long time. I think they've got a pretty good formula how they like to play their football. They feature the tight ends in a lot of ways as well. But I would say the numbers of time they go to Michael, they spread it out three effectively after that and so I would say it's not in the traditional way of a one or a two, but the way they utilize the players I think speaks volumes.”
What have you seen Latavius Murray add to this offense in the last couple of weeks once he got going?
“I’d say he's got the big play ability because of the speed that he has. He's a bigger back and usually you do not see that type of speed from a guy who has the size he does. I think it's his ability to outrun people and it doesn’t have to even be on a long run. But if a guy's trying to the edge, he could just burst to get outside. You feel that speed. There was a short touchdown run, might have been again (when I was in) Seattle, I can't remember now, but it might’ve been a two or three yarder, but it was this speed that which he got to the edge. Those are things that are hard to defend and knowing who your match-ups are and how you're going to play. The running back position there, difficult match-ups for sure and I think that's usually when you're going into a game and not only the scheme, but you're as a player always looking at your match-ups and where you're at and how you defend guys. He's been a good addition for them for sure.”
What was your focus during the bye week and what did you want to improve on?
“Yes, for sure. It has been a tough beginning for us. We just more than anything wanted to get back to playing football like we wanted to. We have been way behind in our turnover margin. We haven't played as effectively as we would like to. We want to focus on the things that we're really doing well, hang our hat on those things to make sure, inside and out we've got it down and can play like we want to play. There was a number of things that we hit on as we started into our preparation Monday, but the first day was 100% about us and when the players left, their part was ok, what part of your game needs the time and attention and for us as coaches, that was the same, what things do we need to really lock in on and focused on? We picked a few, you can’t pick a lot that you can pick a few to really focus in and the turnover margin for us is a huge piece of it. If we can do that part better, that certainly gives our offense more opportunities. Now, you can't get a plus on the turnover side if you're not creating any takeaways.”
You flipped some coaching rolls what was the thought process going into that and how will it help you going forward?
“Yeah, for sure. We just had missed the mark in some spots on the defensive side and Raheem (Morris) has got (experience) there. You guys know Raheem. He has got a huge background on the defensive side, especially in the secondary. We were fortunate we had some good versatility on the offensive side. Dave Brock had been working with the receivers for the past few years and we split him into that role. Bernie Parmalee who has experience as our running backs coach was able to go back into that role and I don’t think we would’ve been able to do it, had it not been for guys like Julio (Jones) who had real preparation and was ready and Calvin (Ridley) that really kind of lead in their own way as players. But adding Raheem to the secondary, we're looking to bring his communication, energy, style to that group and so we thought at this point it is all hands on deck to improve it and definitely for us, because it would add to what we want to do. He was the right guidance to help that way.”
The Saints aren't the only one with injured quarterbacks. How's Matt Ryan doing right now?
“Matt is definitely on the way back. We held him out on Monday, but he will receive some work today. He's improving as the weeks going, I'm sure. He's chomping at the bit. He and Drew (Brees) have battled many times on the opposite sidelines. We're certainly anticipating those two going at it head to head again.”
What did you see from Matt Schaub in when he had to come in and fill in for Ryan?
“It’s kind of like with Drew (Brees) or with Matt here. The backup doesn't get a lot of chances to play. These guys have been extremely durable, tough to do it. When they were not able to, that is the whole reason Matt Schaub was here. He has been a fantastic teammate behind the scene. Really helping Matt Ryan in every possible way. He really played and performed like we expected him to when Matt Schaub took over. We played much better in the second half against Seattle and Matt I thought made some terrific throws. I think that shows like he's really capable, really honest, the team was totally behind him. He's been, like I said, behind the scenes, one of the best teammates we've had, not just supporting Matt but the entire team. We weren't able to come through and we were wanting to deliver one for him because he had been such a good teammate, but he played well in his performance I thought.”
You and the Falcons have had to deal with more than your share of injuries in recent years. What impresses you most about how Sean (Payton) and the Saints have been able to overcome such significant losses? Most notably Drew (Brees), but not just Drew this year?
“For sure that takes the lead story because playing at that position and it's why they have Teddy (Bridgewater) and really why we had Matt (Schaub). When that moment comes and you want to make sure that you're handing the ball off to somebody that’s ready and willing to answer that challenge. And for us, that's Matt and for them that’s Teddy. I thought he played fantastic. What's usually good when the system is set, he can step in and play and be featured in the same way that Drew did. I thought that's a real tribute to all the other contributing players around them. The lines played well, they protected well. Coming in as a quarterback, (whether) you're a backup or not like coming in with good protection, that's a big piece of it. I thought the guys stepped up their space in that absence. Anytime they're going to happen, that's our game with injuries. But, you’ve got to make sure that you can answer when you can. They certainly did. Especially at quarterback.”
As a defensive guy, what impresses you most about their defense?
“Up front I thought this line is active. They can move, they can make plays. I thought outside Cameron (Jordan) has been kind of the standard of what you look for. The whole group I thought really played with top energy. Outside on the edges, we've obviously seen (Marshon) Lattimore quite a bit. We've been impressed by him. I think the emergence of the safeties and the packages that they have and having some ball hawking ability with (Vonn) Bell and with (Marcus) Williams. I think Davis has been an excellent addition to their group at linebacker for the run and hit factor. (Dennis Allen has) done a good job, not only are they excellent against the run, but they're excellent on third down and so those can kind of go hand in hand when you play really well on third down. You're getting off the field, you're holding them to feel goal and you're doing those things. I think that's the thing. I would say that the third down defense I've certainly been impressed. The different looks, the different ways they're featuring the guys and I thought DA and the guys are doing a good job with that.”