Dan Quinn: ‘No need placing blame anywhere ... in it together’

Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say after the 23-16 loss to the Panthers on Sunday. (Quinn, along with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, was fired hours after the game):

OPENING STATEMENT: “Just getting done with the team, what I discussed with them, certainly a tough division loss, but at the end of the day, players and coaches, you’ve got to be able to leave your mark on the game. That’s the — the big tackle, the big hit that caused the fumble, the big score, the big kick. So that’s what we’ve got to be able to do. I told them that. It’s a tough division loss, for sure, but more than anything we have to be able to leave our mark on the win. That comes in all shapes and sizes depending on what your role is on the team and that’s what we discussed just in the locker room just now.”

On Matt Ryan’s interception in the end zone and whether he believes Ryan should have thrown the ball away: “Yeah. So on the play, from my view, definitely one Matt would like to have back. Said it in those words. Not that he wants to have back, but just know he can’t throw that one and have any other outcome other than incomplete or Russ, but at the same time we have to get stops, too, when that happens. To finish in the minus in the turnover margin, not what we need to do.”

On whether he was disappointed with the perception of lack of physicality from the defensive side of the ball: “I was disappointed on the extended runs. Some of the ones where they got yards after they contact Zach more than anything. For us I know those ones are correctable, and we certainly expect to do that. More than anything I like to see that ball come out, ball hawking, big hits to get those. At the end, yeah, you can’t have a run the goes for an explosive one.”

On whether he feels his message is still getting to the players: “One hundred percent I do, and doesn’t make it easier. They’re upset. They’re frustrated, just like we are. And at the end of it we have to make sure -- there’s a lot of ingredients right, but we have to make sure, just like I said, as players, coaches, collectively together, we’ve got to be able to leave our mark on the wins, play calls, big plays, the execution in the moment, when they come up, we have to be able to nail that. No excuses on our end. We have to be able to correct the things we need to correct, and that’s where our focus will be this week heading into Minnesota.”

On whether he anticipates any changes on the staff or a change in the responsibilities of some of the assistants: “No, I don’t. We’re going to collectively get fixed and address what we need to, but, collectively, we’ll all be part of that solution of playing better. Not one person. It’s all three phases, coaches, players, everybody, we’re in the same boat and in it together. All hands on deck to help. No need placing blame anywhere than right at one another to say what could we do better and that’s what we’ll do.”

On whether he would understand if Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank decided to go in a different direction: “Honestly, it’s the furthest thing from my mind. It’s his job to evaluate, but for me it’s coaching, and I’ll work as hard as I can to align our team to play like we’re capable of playing.”

On his halftime message and whether he felt the team responded to that message: “I thought so because I thought the two halves have to look different from what the first was to what the second half was. I knew we were going to start with the ball, and let’s make an impact in the game right off the bat. I don’t like 0 for 2 in the red zone. As we’re going down there, we’ve got to get touchdowns. But that’s what I expected to get some points, get stops and get back into the game exactly kind of as we were going. That’s what I said, it has to feel like two different halves, and certainly heading into the last drive, it certainly felt like we were heading in that direction.”

On whether there’s a common theme in allowing explosive plays on defense: “Yeah. Well, you want to go back and look at it all, and so we’ll do that. But elimination of the explosive plays, that’s a big part of it. If you get beat on a man-to-man route or those, those are ones that go along with that territory. But we’ll have to go back and look was there an error of technique or error of a concept that wasn’t played correctly. Those are the things I know we’ll go back and look at.”

On what needs to happen offensively to score more points: “I think number one the explosive plays. That comes off the run game, comes off the play passes. It was certainly good to see Calvin’s involvement in the second half, for sure, but more than anything, just these explosive plays. Those flip the field. Those cause chances to get down in the red zone to get scoring plays. The big plays certainly need to be a bigger part of our game. That’s for sure.”

On whether Carolina switched up their defensive game plan in the first half to get the offense out of rhythm: “I’ll have a better feel as we’re going through it as the one we discussed at the half. But just having four possessions there, we knew coming out we obviously took a knee on the one with not much time left. But more than anything, when we get our chances, we’ve got to go deliver on some of those. I think there was a drive of six, a drive of five. Smaller ones, we have to be able to convert some of these ones to go -- I’m not certain, I think a penalty knocked us out on one that got into some long yardage – but by and large third downs were manageable for us. They weren’t in the long space, so we have to be able to extend some drives.”

On opposing teams targeting CB Isaiah Oliver at critical times and whether he deserves playing time: “We’ll go back and evaluate everything. As we’re going through, was there a technique or was it part of the coverage was he playing off. We’ll go back and have a better assessment of that as we go through tomorrow. I certainly want to go back and look at everything before commenting that.”

On whether the defensive issues were a lack of effort or execution: “It was good to have some of the guys back. So certainly having Ricardo and Keke back, that helped a lot. The execution, the communication was so much better. And we have to continue to build on that. I didn’t feel from an effort standpoint that was lacking, and I didn’t feel that from a toughness standpoint. What I told the team we’ve got to have our mark on the game. That’s the big sack. That’s the big fumble. That’s causing an interception. That’s getting the explosive play on offense. That’s making the big block. Those are the ones I want us to focus on, to continue to focus on, because the effort, that part’s on point, and now we have to be able to go execute your role, your job over and over and over, all of us. Not putting it to the players.”