Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say after the 26-9 win Sunday over the Saints:
Opening Statement: “Heading into this one, you knew it was going to be a fight. In fact, as the 100th game in this rivalry, we wanted to be aggressive right from the start. With Arthur (Blank) in here, I’m sure there are tons that come back to memory. It is a fun rivalry to be a part of. Not everybody in the NFL has these, so we were aggressive and played good. I thought both of the lines of scrimmage played with a lot of energy and a lot of discipline. I thought that was one of the real factors in this game. This is the first of our four-game block in the division. Carry this energy into next week with Carolina. Good team win tonight. We are certainly pleased. Made some adjustments. Put some people in different spots, and we will go on from here.”
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On extended scoring drives: “I think it is critical because anytime you can give this offense less chances and less possessions, that to me that is the key. We had to get some shots at takeaways and turnovers to limit their chances. They have been that effective. They are that talented. To have some stops on fourth down. Being able to go for it on fourth downs, that was going to be a real part of his game. They have been an effective a third and fourth down, and we knew we had to be bold and aggressive to do the same.”
On the pass rush: “I thought the players did a great job. Number one their communication, that’s really where you see complementary football come to life when the rush and coverage can be in sync. So, to see that take place, give credit to the guys. They were really in tune and communicated and really brought the game plan to life. Excellent job by the front and the secondary. Obviously, to get the hits and sacks, you have to have good coverage to go along with it.
On limiting explosive offensive plays: “I am hopeful when you go back through the tape to see it and find some of the explosive plays that have been costing us. At times, we have beaten ourselves. We just wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case. We went as hard as we could on our communication player to player and coaches. I thought tonight they did an excellent job at that really caring it out together. That kind of fight, that kind of communication is what is needed and I was really happy to see that with those guys tonight.”
On performing better on defense: “I thought the ability to affect the QB when you get into those long yards and get a couple sacks, and that is a completely different call when you get into 2nd-and-15 or 3rd-and-15. They have been such an effective team where you can screen and utilize every player there, so when you can create some of those long-yardage ones that is a real factor. The other side of that, we didn’t play as many snaps defensively, having some long drives extended. I thought field position was going to be key in this game. We had changed both specialists on the kicking side and the punting side. That isn’t always easy to do in the middle of the year.”
On acting as if it was a new season after the bye week: “I know that is coachspeak to a certain degree, because if you don’t apply the lessons you have learned, obviously, you can’t start new and get to fresh. Because you don’t, there are consequences to that, but what we did want to talk about was applying the lessons. Could our focus improve? Could that put us into that base that we needed to? We are heading right into the division to do that. We put up 0-0 to start it off, but we knew there were lessons that if you don’t learn them, then the pain of going through them is for not.”
On the feeling of getting a win: “It was too long. Personally, it is not about me. It is about the players. To see their excitement in the locker room. You get to see them for three or three and a half hours on a Sunday. What they go through to play and the toughness they display. I was happy for them to see some of the hard work they have put in to get some reward today.”
On the decision to receive the ball to start the game: “We had decided yesterday or the day before if we had chances when in the game management moments, how do you want to go attack? At the end of the game if it is tied, will you go for two or go to overtime? So often those decisions are made early to make sure when we are in the moment, people are prepared for that. We just wanted to be aggressive and if we had the chance to win the toss, we would choose to play on offense. I haven’t done it a lot, but we just wanted to be as aggressive as we could.”
On Brian Hill stepping in for Devonta Freeman: “I said to the guys inside the locker room that this victory is produced by everyone, but knowing that this team trusts Brian in a big way. So, when his moment came to deliver, he was able to. We don’t know the extent of Free’s (Freeman) injury or where he is at, but Brian was certainly ready for the moment. He is one of the hardest workers that we have, so when that moment came he had a lot of trust built up in that locker room.”
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