What Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say after the 40-14 shellacking of the Cardinals on Sunday:
Opening Statement: “You've heard me talk this week about the fight and focus, and the importance of that, and I thought that was right today. I loved the fight of the guys, but the self-inflicted wounds and the focus, I thought that was the issue. Tonight, I thought our identity was clearly on display. The turnovers, ball-hawking, defensively, the ability to run the ball, to me, those felt good. And to do that here at home with our fans to make sure they saw that identity on full display was important. When you win the turnover margin and run the ball like we did, we're able to play exactly the type of football we'd like. It's been a tough stretch on everyone, and the team, the fans, all of us, but I think it shows, a lot about the resiliency of the men inside the locker room, how important it is to them to play well here for one another for this city, for this team, and so I was real proud to see that from them tonight. I'll recognize two men tonight before I'll turn it over to some questions. Matt Ryan and (Thomas Dimitroff), the sixth QB and GM in NFL history to win 100 games together, and if I could toast you, I would say here is to one hundred more. Good job by you two.”
On whether the tip by Vic Beasley Jr. and Deion Jones jump-started the effort: “That certainly was a contributing factor. We didn't start the game like we'd want on either side of the ball. Offensively, came down, had a punt. Defensively, had a big play that ended up scoring on a long third-down conversion. I like the resiliency of the group coming back after that, and I thought that was definitely the thing that kind of sparked it for the defense. We knew the turnover margin was going to be a factor. We talked about it so often, so to see that come to light tonight was important.”
On the offensive line opening up holes for a season-high 215 rushing yards: “I thought Tevin (Coleman), his ability to get on edge was going to be an important factor in this game where we could find some space to circle the defense. They have got an aggressive group, safeties, linebackers, the way we play, so we knew we would have to try to get the ball outside on the perimeter, and I thought Ito (Smith) provided some tough yards inside, as well.”
On the pass rush season-high seven sacks today: “When you have those opportunities to play as a pass-first defense, you get more opportunities to go after it, and so yeah, I was pleased to see that today, but I thought more than anything this felt much closer to the version of ball we'd like to play, the turnover margin, the speed that we could play with and the ability to run the ball and convert. We had some good stops on third down, so all of those things I thought contributed to making sure our style came through. That was important to show that today.”
On the difference in Beasley’s play the last four or five weeks: “I'll have to go back to look to see. I thought for a while, he's been -- the speed and the get-off and that part looked good, but he has had an impact. I thought the pass rush stunts and the timing, and that part has certainly looked better. I think just more than anything, I've been impressed by practice, and those are the habits we look for to make sure you can get ready to play. That's what I told the team in the locker room. That preparation and process you get ready, when you get to the game day, you really feel ready to go. I think for him, staying true to that process has been important.”
On whether he has found more ways to make Beasley more aggressive in certain situations: “I think when we know those ones, we have a better chance to use him in the best way, so I don't know if they are up or down much more than a few percent but what I can say the recognition, the formations, the games that go along with he and Grady (Jarrett), and having Grady back to full strength certainly helps, too, inside, because you'd better make sure you have him taken care of, as well. When you don't have that, you can chip and do a little more things to the defensive ends.”
On Tevin Coleman’s explosive ability today: “I saw him in the locker room and said I was real proud of him, man, in terms of getting a big one and getting some ones to go. Some of the looks that we saw in practice, when you think you have a chance at some big plays, as a running back, you say, OK, what's your plan going to be for the DB. How do you get him broken off so you can make it for the long one? Those are the ones that we talked about this week, but I just felt like his preparation, that part, was on point and the practice looked right, so for him heading into the week, I know he had a lot of confidence about where we could go even though the numbers have not been what they have wanted by any stretch.”
On what it means to see Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman celebrating together on the sideline: “It was important to see that. Something as small as -- I'll use an example, whether it was a game two weeks ago, bed check, and the running backs are together going through it one more time, you know, at 9:30 or 10:00 at night when they are at the hotel together. Those are the small moments that no one would know about to say, hey, let's go through it again. Let's rehearse it together. When I hear those things, like a group staying together, rehearsing it to get it right, you can tell how important it is to them. That connection that players have with one another, it's special, and it certainly is here.
On whether anyone else really stood out today: “For one, I thought Russell Gage had some time on special teams. I felt his speed to go. Mohamed (Sanu) always has running catch finishing opportunities. His run and catch are runs and finishes. I thought him and (Calvin Ridley) had a couple good third-down conversions. Those are the ones coming to the top of my mind right now.
On whether it was disheartening to have a lot of empty seats at the last home game: “No, and we love them, so, you know, it's part of our space, too, to say, let's make sure that every single chance we get here, that we defend home court, and we haven't held up our end of the deal enough, too. We love our fans and the environment that gets created here. Clearly, they get more special the bigger the games get and postseason. We've seen what those look like. But by no stretch is that something you think about on game day.”
On whether there was a sense the crowd would be like that before coming out of the tunnel: “I didn't look too hard into it. There were probably more things on my mind today than that one, but I recognize the question. Thank you.”
On whether there has been more of a concerted effort to apply pressure with blitzing: “I wouldn't say more. I'll go back to look to see if those numbers are true, but any ways that you can to affect the quarterback, you try to do that. Sometimes it's best with a four-man rush where you move them off the spot to get the guy to throw. Other times, to blitz somebody, like Brian (Poole) is a good blitzer, (De’Vondre Campbell) is a good blitzer, so we have used those guys and tried to feature them where we could but more than anything, just trying to put the guys in some good spots to make plays, whether it's four-man rush or, you know, with pressure. That kind of goes by game.”