Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say after the 23-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday:
Opening statement. “Before we begin tonight I’d like to recognize a guy from South Florida, who means a great deal to me and that’s Jason Taylor. For him to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past week, all of us who know him are really proud of him. Let’s get started from the game. The first half there were some good situations that we worked on from camp. We had two-minute (drills) at the half. Defensively, we were looking to see tackling and where we were at in the run game. We got two takeaways defensively and that part we were encouraged by. But we also lost two on (special) teams. It was a tale of two halves tonight. There’s a lot to teach from, especially in the second half. We’ll look at that tonight and we’ll get right back into training camp mode for us. Beginning tomorrow and we’ll take that through the next few days. With that I’m glad to open up to your questions regarding the ball game.”
On the team’s good start. “I was (pleased.) That’s what we were talking about, could we force a shorter field. We were pleased with the return game from Roberts early on. Then when we had a chance to go for it on fourth down, we want to stay aggressive in those moments. I thought from an execution standpoint, the offensive line and Matt seem to be in sync early on. That was a good step in terms of how we let to set it off. Unfortunately, for us, as it went down into the fourth quarter, we weren’t able to sustain that. But we were pleased with how the game (started.)”
On how Garland and Schweitzer played. “We put them back and forth. So we are going to go back tonight and take a look at it. I didn’t have a sense in game for those two. So, we’ll look at them tonight and I’ll give you a better indication as we move forward.”
On the run offense. “For us, it’s a long way to go to get our run game going like we’re accustomed to. We have to keep working the reps at it. Tonight was a step …a different front…a different system. We need that. Our line of scrimmage is something that we’re going to always emphasize. We didn’t get untracked tonight in the run game like we’re accustomed to. That will be a real point of focus for us.”
On how the wide receivers played. “Reggie (Davis) jumped. Really, Marvin (Hall) did. We really wanted to find out (about the recivers). (Josh) Magee was one. (Deante) Burton was one. Nick Williams, all of those guys. We just love what they stand for as competitors. I thought each of them had their (opportunities) to make some plays. We’ll go back and look at it tonight. We are certainly a long way from deciding where we are at with that group, but I do like how they compete.”
On Freeman’s touchdown run. “He thought he was going to score on one of the runs. I think (Ndamukong) Suh had a pretty good hold of him. He thought he had a chance for it. So we were going to see what kind of celebration was going to come from that. We are really thrilled for (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) and his guys to get this deal done, knowing what a significant factor he is for us. So, he’s one of the guys. He’s really important on this team and I think the organization showed a commitment to that.”
On Keanu Neal being held out. “We are hoping to have some guys that missed today back as early as Sunday. Some were close to playing. (Jack) Crawford was one. Neal was one. Taylor Gabriel, Julio Jones, that crew, we’re hoping that as we get into next week we can get more work. I think we came out ok from an injury standpoint. We’ll take a look at that over the next few days. We are hopeful to have Neal and Crawford back into action.”
On De’Vondre Campbell’s one-handed interception. “Yeah, the length. Both guys that had the picks tonight you really saw how long they were. Dre is really somebody that has stood out to us in this training camp so far. We’ve asked (him to do) line of scrimmage stuff playing (strongside) linebacker. Covering tight ends. We’ve asked him to rush more. He’s off to a good start. We still want to get our mindset about the ball stronger, but we were pleased to get that play from him tonight.”
On the 99-yard touchdown pass. “That’s one of the big alerts that we have when teams are backed up there’s a pass play to the flat there are shot plays. For Jalen (Collins) and for (Marcelis) Branch to not get the player down. Sometimes when a deep pass in completed we’ve got to get the player down. If it ends up being a 40-yard pass, those you get to fight another down. Those that go the distance are tough to handle. When we go back through it we know that we’ve got a lot of work to do. That’s what we’ll set our mind on doing.”
On the close game. “(For the exhibition) we do love it. We love the matchups of the young players especially at the end who were kind of going through their first experience at it. All of the different things that could come up. Four-minute offense. Two-minute defense. We look forward to those times. We practice them a bunch so that when they get in them those can feel real normal. We were disappointed that we weren’t able to execute that at the end tonight.”
On Mike Meyer making a 53-yard field goal. “We knew we’d give him a shot. You guys who’ve been at practice have seen how strong his leg is. We thought, if we had the opportunity, that we were going to give him a shot at it. It just so happened that he nailed it just like he does in practice. He’s got a fantastic model to look (at) in terms of consistency in Matt Bryant. Watching Matt (trying to) make every kick the same, that’s really rubbed off on Mike as well. We are happy for him tonight.”
On Campbell’s progression. “There’s usually a pretty big jump that a player can make from year one to year two. It also takes place from two to three. I think that’s pretty normal. Some of the improvement that you are seeing from Dre, from (Brian) Poole, from (Austin) Hooper, from Neal. We are anxious to see these guys and were they can go to.”
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