December 18, 2016, ATLANTA: Falcons running back Devonta Freeman gets a pat on the back from head coach Dan Quinn after his second touchdown against the 49ers during the second quarter in an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. Freeman scored three touchdowns in the game. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

What Dan Quinn had to say after the win over the 49ers

Here’s what Falcons head coach Dan Quinn had to say after the win over San Francisco:

Opening Statement:

“I thought today was a nice day for our entire team, especially for our fans. We felt their energy. I thought today was a really clear example of where our team does recognize we’re all an extension of one another. This week we talked about running with emphasis and it wasn’t just for the offensive line. It was the way we want to carry out our fakes, it was the way receivers need to run, and defensively it was going to be the way we could run and hit. I thought that was at hand today. We saw that. We talked about finishing and we knew that was going to be an important part. They had 13 points, so I told the defense at the half what a good opportunity we have here. I think they ended up with four punts in the second half, which was good. Now, that that’s out the focus goes right back to the division. That’s what we told the team in the locker room today and that’s where our attention will go. We have a shorter week and we’ll start the preparation for that tomorrow.”

On how pleasing it is that they came out and played at their standard without paying attention to the 49ers record:

“I think when you get into December football, you better do that and knowing that every time that you get a chance to go battle you have your intent and game right. Our preparation for this game began way back early in the week. Our emphasis on improvement showed. We thought we’d have some looks in the run game and for us that was an important part of this game. We thought that would be the case. It was good to see our offensive line and our run game take control which they did today.”

On what he saw with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman running through the holes:

“A real aggressive style. Honestly, knowing where our fits are to go hit it when you put that foot in the ground you go get vertical. I think there were some great examples of that where Free sometimes can set himself apart is when he gets to the next level and can try and break a guy off who’s got good leverage on him. He’s got such good change of direction. That helps him a bunch, but overall I was pleased with the line. I thought their intent getting out and coming in ready to play, I felt the energy from our team all the way coming right out of the locker room.”

December 18, 2016, ATLANTA: Falcons running back Devonta Freeman gets a pat on the back from head coach Dan Quinn after his second touchdown against the 49ers during the second quarter in an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. Freeman scored three touchdowns in the game. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

On injuries in the game:

“We’ll find out more on Austin Hooper for tomorrow but past that De’Vondre Campbell was one that wasn’t able to return today. We’ll give you some updates for the week tomorrow. That’s part of it and its rough and a bummer for those guys. We have a number of guys who are ready if called upon so we’ll take it through the week as we get ready to play.”

On Keanu Neal’s performance today:

“Well, I thought the first thing with Keanu was the physicality that he showed again. That’s really his style and his identity in that has totally shown up for us. He’s one of our better tacklers. He has a real clear understanding of strike zone hitting. We put him in a good bit of time today in some man to man coverage against tight ends and wide receivers and he answered those challenges. I just keep seeing his arrow trending going up.”

On whether today was his best game:

“I’d have to go back and look at it. I definitely felt his presence and we knew we’d put him in some man to man quite a bit today. I certainly felt the physicalness that he wanted to bring to the game. His intent was right, and I thought really all the defensive backs in general. They’re one of the better teams in the NFL in running the football. Carlos Hyde came off a terrific performance last week and Colin Kaepernick has the ability to run it. We knew this was a running team and we’d better be on point with our tackling. That’s definitely Keanu’s kind of game.”

On Matt Ryan spreading the ball around:

“That’s normal for how we like to operate. We want to attack and spread the field in all phases. We thought we’d have some opportunity to run it. Oftentimes you have to be able to throw it in order to run it. I know that may sound unusual, but having that ability to have them play some two deep looks allows us to run it better so when those two are working in concert that’s when we’re at our best.”

On whether he’s getting close to what he wanted to see from the team:

“I think our identity is getting closer. We’re not there yet, but it first starts in the locker room and that connection and how hard you want to play one another. I have felt that. We certainly realize we’re an extension of one another. The next thing is our appreciation of going after the football defensively and taking care of it offensively so to be in the plus turnover margin that’s always the goal. Today we were zero. We lost one down and we were able to get a fumble recovery earlier but having a real awareness for the football, playing with kind of toughness, and knowing the players are an extension of one another. That is definitely part of the identity that Arthur Blank and I spoke about a few years ago.”

On setting a team scoring record today:

“It was nothing that we really talked about in terms of stats. Those are excellent discussions for in the offseason. What it comes to is getting ready each and every week and going to battle for it. We recognize we’ve got some explosive guys offensively for that those numbers are nice but honestly it just goes right into the next game so we don’t those quite a bit.”

On whether he told Mr. Blank that he would score 500 points this season:

“No. I knew Matt Ryan was here, but I was certainly not promising that.”

On Devonta Freeman’s fumble:

“It shows a lot of grit. If I could tell you how determined, he looked after that. We’ve been very good at running back this year in terms of our ability to take care of the ball. I wouldn’t say he was frustrated, but I would say he was motivated. So when his opportunity came again to close and finish, that’s exactly the grit and toughness that I expect from him.”

On Aldrick Robinson’s performance today:

“I thought Al showed a lot of toughness. He took some real physical hits and for Al, good catches, in traffic, physical plays, and breaking tackles. It’s a real strength at that receiver group. For us to have the kind of day that we did today without Julio Jones in there shows the readiness of the other players from Taylor Gabriel and Robinson when their time is called. NickWilliams was an example of that last week. So it’s for sure one of our strengths. They’re a very competitive group, from being around them you guys know that. The standard for them is the same and I thought Al did a really good job demonstrating that today. He had an excellent week at practice and I’m not surprised that he played well today. I brought that up to Raheem Morris on Wednesday and Thursday. I said I feel the intent coming out of 19 in terms of his work ethic at practice and the discipline he put into the routes. I saw him and Julio talking about certain routes on Thursday at practice and going through some of the things. Although Julio wasn’t playing, he was certainly connected, not only to the team but to the receivers, imparting some of the things that he knows that would be important to Al. Those are the things I look for as a coach and it wasn’t just from Julio but you see it in practice, guys running sprints on their own and doing those kind of things showing how far they’re willing to go for one another. I think Julio is a good example of that.”

On defensively reaching your full potential as a coach:

“We’ve got a long way to go. I like our run and hit factor and our communication is getting better, but until we’re all over the ball and creating turnovers like crazy. The speed of it you feel, and I think our arrow is definitely going up because of the communication. Communication isn’t just directing a guy on what to do, it’s passing the information along to the guy that’s next to you and that’s where we make the calls come to life. I’ve been very impressed over the last few weeks with Deion Jones. I felt his presence at practice, where he found his voice so to speak, a voice where you can get information out to other guys. I’ve always felt that from Ricardo Allen, I like the way we’re moving the guys inside the defensive line and trying to feature guys in the best way. We’re hopeful to get Adrian Clayborn back soon. I think he’ll be a good addition into that group and into that rotation when he can. We have a lot of things to look forward to defensively.”

On Ra’shede Hageman’s play today:

“We’ll go back and look through it but we knew this was going to be a team that could run it and that’s certainly one of Ra’shede’s strengths, so for him to step up and have the sack that he did, we were very excited about that as all of the defensive linemen do. It was good to see him battle. I think his play over the last few weeks has really improved. It’s been difficult for him at times whether he was inactive or playing, he’s the one that made the real I’m putting a line in the sand to see how good I can get and how good I can play. I’m pleased for him.”

On getting Julio Jones back for Carolina:

“Great. I’m hopeful that he’s back. I think that he will. We are going to take it all the way through practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and then we’ll have a good shot but I am hopeful for that. I can’t say it’s for sure until he can explode like he can but I think he’s a heck of a lot closer than he has been the over last two weeks.”

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