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What Dan Quinn had to say after exhibition loss to Jets

VIDEO: Falcons coach Dan Quinn discusses the exhibition loss to the Jets Thursday. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter.

Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say in his post-game press conference after the 22-10 exhibition loss to the Jets on Thursday night:

Opening statement:  "Good to see you guys. Before we get going, there were a few players making their first appearance, in 19, not only good for our team, but for the fans, the city. That's Keke (Keanu Neal), Ricardo (Allen), Devonta (Freeman). Behind the scenes, these three have put a lot of work in to get back. And to see them back in action for such an important part of our team, they didn't want to miss a minute. Recognize them and how hard they worked to get ready. It was great to be back here with the guys. Going through the whole thing, I thought early on, although there were a few drops, Matt (Ryan), his first action, he was able to slide and move in the pocket and make some completions. Wasn't happy how the defense started. But I thought they kind of came back after the first drive. I didn't like how the first drive felt, for sure. Foul wise, still ended up with 12. That was an area we thought heading into the week we wanted to put some work in. The first half there were four, ended up with 12 at the end of the game. To end the game, minus three, it's difficult, as you can imagine. Not to create any defensively and minus three, I thought that was kind of the story of the game. Ramped up a few more guys by design, to get back and play and get ready. There will be some more of that heading into next week, different players in different spots. But that's kind of what the goal has been this game, heading into next week's game, we'll get a little bit of the same format. You guys got some questions, I'll turn it over to you to get started."
Asked about the offensive line (but he talks about the running backs):  "Yeah, who benefits from that are the running backs. I thought there was some really good blitz pickup from that group; corner, safeties, linebackers. In a game like tonight, you don't game plan, you trust your rules to go. Although the pressure, you don't like to see it, it's one of those ones you're glad that you do because you get to practice on different looks, different things. But the running backs in specific, I thought not all of them got every blitz, but to see some of the guys jump up and make some blocks I thought was very significant for us."
On injuries: "(Russell) Gage and (Damontae) Kazee weren't able to return. Should be able to give you something next time we get together. Doesn't sound like anything that's going to be a setback for a long time. They ruled out breaks and those kind of things right here at the stadium, which we're fortunate to do. I don't have a lot of information past that. I'll get a better sense of that tomorrow."
On Vic Beasley: "Well, number one, I wanted to see -- we thought a big nickel game, play a lot of three and four receivers, he was able to make some plays in terms of in the run game, in the pass game. More screens. I liked the rotation of the group so far. To give a better assessment of him specifically, I'll get a lot of feel for that on follow-up.

On Beasley's sack: " Yeah, we've been working hard on that. Just the top part of the rush where you don't get pushed by, how do you work underneath, not get pushed by. Those are the things we've worked hard with him in practice I love the speed that he and Tak (McKinley) and Adrian (Clayborn) coming off the edges with. If you're playing good, fast defense, that's there. Inside linebacker is where it starts. To see those guys get up the field, there's some run things that we'll clean up, but the first step, quickness, that's a good step."

When you looked at film of him off of last year, what were you seeing? "Probably almost exactly like you described the last finish part of it, a yard and a half away from you, how to get underneath the tackle, how do I set things up. Now he has to sit down. At times, really high, up-field pass, couldn't dig in. Most pass-rushers, you better have the other counter-punch to that, which is all of your power to go after the tackle to make them stop their feet. This year he's done a better job because he's stronger, not heavy, of mixing those two up. Now you can't just continue to float. I think it's been something we've spent a lot of time on. Hopefully that will be one of the things we see come through when you watch the film from that." 

On Ito Smith: "In the open field, he's tough to guard and to tackle because of his change of direction. He's got good hands. He just has a knack. Even though he's not a bigger guy, inside the tackle, making a guy miss, changing direction. That's what makes him so unique, is his change of direction. He can really put his foot in the ground, violently explode to one side. One of the great backs that has that change. That's what he has, what he brings to us." 

On Jaeden Graham: "Yeah, the urgency he plays with, it's always there. Always trying to find a role on what he can do. Excellent catch. A couple catches. One in specific, nice to see him hurdle the guy, jump. We're all kind of having a good time with that because of the urgency that he was playing with. Good to see, for sure."
On Giorgio Tavecchio: "When we brought him in last year, he really came through. We know he's had a good camp. I did see the one. I didn't know if we pushed too much. Those are things you can look at. I know he missed out on the other, for the long one. He had an excellent camp. We have great trust in him. We anticipate getting lots of opportunities for him to rip it. Had a couple long ones. Like I said, the one that was blocked, I didn't see where the push came from, that it was tipped." 

On the quarterbacks moving around a lot in the pocket and the offensive line:
"Sometimes that's good. Sometimes it's not good. Tonight not so good. The reason why it was good for him, because that sliding and moving in the pocket, that's part of playing the position. Tonight there were a lot of pressures, blitzes. I think that's good for you. It tests you against new things, puts you through some of the rules. I don't know where he finished, 10, 14, a couple of those are drops. He's a guy that's dialed in. You don't want him to get hit, but we need that readiness for him. He's as dialed in as he ever has been. His performance, his technique, his mindset, he is 100% ready to let it rip. We'll get him some more work. Those nights like tonight help get you there to that space where you're really ready. That's kind of where you grow, in some of those uncomfortable times. You got to push yourself, put yourself in there. He's more than willing to do that time and time again. I was encouraged by what I saw from him. Quite honestly from that, too. Cut his thumb early, got hit. Saw him go. Didn't bat an eye. Drove the team down. I thought those two tonight really came through in a way to show their readiness to go play no matter the situation, no matter the defense. Quite sure it matters they played as long as they had, seen as much as they had, too. Didn't get wide eyed one bit." 

On Devonta Freeman's playing time: "Yeah, he's been begging for it. Very much looking forward to that. On your podcast, it was told that he was your sleeper pick. What we did find, it helps getting the guys ready. Most everybody needs some readiness to go. Doesn't matter if it's a half or a quarter or a few carries. Those moments help you get there. When the season starts, this ramp-up process for them is important. Doesn't mean you have to get tons. Some guys need some quarters to get ready, some positions don't require as much. He's one that he likes to know how it feels. It was great to have him out there." 

On kick returns: "You're wondering why I'm trying to rush it back from eight yards in the end zone. We're trying to get as many evaluations as we can. We think that's such an important part of the preseason, to get looks, returns. One or two kickoffs, maybe three punt returns. We're going to keep pushing to try as many and as often as we can to be bold in that area. We'll continue to do that."

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