Here’s where the 2013 and 2014 Seattle defenses overseen by Quinn ranked: First and first. We stipulate that the Seahawks’ 2012 defense, as coordinated by Gus Bradley, ranked No. 4 in yards against; with Quinn gone to Flowery Branch, the Seattle defense ranked No. 2 last season and is No. 6 now. If it wasn’t all DQ — and it wasn’t; the Seahawks had and have great players — that defense was nonetheless at its ravenous best under him.
This means the best defensive coordinator employed by the Falcons is technically not coordinating the Falcons’ defense, though said defense is clearly of Quinn’s design. With Vic Beasley Jr. making an imprint and the rookies Keanu Neal, Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell assuming major roles, there’s more talent here than when Quinn arrived. But in Year 2, this defense has gotten statistically worse against admittedly tougher sledding. Should that be happening?
In that first half against Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers did as he pleased. Come the second half, the Falcons started slanting their pass rush, forcing him to scramble the way they wanted him to go. (In the first half, he’d been free to choose.) Adrian Clayborn ended consecutive possessions with sacks. Beasley was deployed as the one linebacker in a 4-1-6 alignment and assigned to “spy” on the quarterback. The Falcons disguised coverages and, on the Packers’ final two snaps, appeared to confuse Rodgers.
This could just be me getting all fanciful, but the second half bore the look of a Quinn defense – fast and fearless, gung-ho to the gills. The head coach might have done nothing more at halftime than scarf down an energy bar, but something changed. If a coaching intervention did occur, it worked. If it didn’t, it probably should have.
With every victory, the stakes get higher. With a bit more help from the defense, the team with the raging offense could be something to behold. I understand that Quinn is a head coach and head coaches are supposed to delegate, but if he’s the guy best equipped to run a defense on game days/nights … well, shouldn’t he?
(This assumes he isn’t already, which I don’t think he is. But with an NFL team, you never know.)