Dan Quinn: ‘Endings have been nothing short of crushing’

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn said after the 30-26 loss to the Bears on Sunday.

OPENING STATEMENT: “Obviously really two disappointing endings over the last two weeks. I told you earlier we’ve got to find our way to finish. We’ll hit the road a week from tomorrow and make sure that result has to be different at the end of the game. That’s where we’re at. Glad to open up to your questions.”

On his message to the team following the game: “I said this last two-week stretch is about as tough as it can get, and I do feel that way. When you have chances to go win it and you come out on the other end, they definitely hurt. So basically what we’ve came down to, to say it’s not ok and how do we find ways to finish better, and that’s where our emphasis will be headed into this week because there’s plenty out there for us but we’ve got to be able to finish. It’s been a tough two-game stretch for this team, especially how the last two have ended.”

On his communication with Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter and the decision to attempt several passes in the fourth quarter over attempting to run the clock out: “Yeah, I think those are easy to look back at. We definitely communicated on those, and if you complete them and you move the chains, those are ones to go. Obviously going in we were planning on converting some of the ones that were short, especially the shorter ones, so when you don’t have those, there’s consequences for them. But we certainly expect to connect on a screen or other plays that would use the clock.”

On whether the fourth-quarter struggles are a result of coaching: “Well, number one, it falls on me in all spaces. I want to make sure we’re clear on that. But we’re all in this together. So when there’s a game, there’s things to do differently offensively, defensively, on special teams. We are all connected on it together, but at the end of the game, the results and setting up things for how it will go, that falls right through me.”

On whether he has confidence he can get the team back on the winning track: “Well, yeah, I’ve got a lot of confidence in this team because I spent the entire training camp with them. I know the features that they have, the things that we can do, and I’m certainly anticipating us doing that. Like I said, the last two weeks and the endings of those have been nothing short of crushing. But I would say this team, as close as they are, as tightly connected as they are, they’re going to find a way to push through and regroup and find our own way of winning at the end, and we’ll do that.”

On whether he has spoken with Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank after the game and whether he’s concerned about his job status: “Well, yeah, we visit every week — pregame, postgame, Mondays, through the week — but any time honestly that I take away from that is time that all I can do is be in front of the team. I said, ‘I need to be the same guy on our best days and our worst days and stand tall for them and bring the energy and the coaching and the focus that we need to go win.’ Anything past that does not help the team. So all I can focus on is us playing better and finishing better, and so that’s where my focus will be and remains to be.”

On whether he felt the defense needed its veterans like S Ricardo Allen, CB Darqueze Dennard and DT Grady Jarrett who were sidelined due to injury: “Yeah, I think every team deals with that, and we certainly had our share today, but at the end of it we’ve got to be able to make plays when our moments came for them, and we had our chances at the end, whether it’s taking the interception, making a tackle. When those plays come, you’ve got to deliver. When you don’t, those are the consequences. So yeah, our team is hurting tonight, but we will regroup. They’re a very tight and connected team. They’re upset. They’re angry, just like we all are, as we should be. But they also are very connected and will put all their effort into our game, like I said, one week from tomorrow.”

On DE Dante Fowler’s postgame message to the team: “Yeah, for sure. I think just at that moment the emotion comes out and how badly everybody wants it, and so you just can sense that from Dante and others, Alex Mack and Matt and just knowing what’s at stake, how hard we’ve got to go. Yeah, our backs are to the wall. We recognize that. So that’s fight like crazy together to do that. When you’re cornered you fight harder and you dig deeper, and I think that’s what this team will do.”

On whether he’s afraid the identity of the team will be building big leads but not holding on: “Well, let’s wait until we get all the way through. I think that’s the best part of an identity, it’s not something that you do early, it’s not something that you tag on late, it’s got to be the whole season, and there’s going to be a lot of football to play and a lot of wins to have, but make no mistake, the finish has to be better.”

On whether he can elaborate on his conversation with WR Calvin Ridley late in the game: “I think it was — it probably was when we took the ball over. He’s such a competitor, so I was like, here’s our chance to go win it, so let’s go win it, is probably what I said to him in that spot. He was pissed, he was angry like we all are, but we knew we had a chance to go win the game on the last drive, and so that’s probably what I was hitting him on.”

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