Dan Quinn Becomes Atlanta Falcons 16th Head Coach
The Atlanta Falcons were so impressed with Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn that they waited over a month for him to become available to them after the Super Bowl.
Now, with Quinn safely on board as the team’s head coach and a staff that has been assembled to improve the defense and give more excitement to the offense, the train leaving the station in Atlanta has more steam and lot more energy.
Quinn becomes the final puzzle piece of a coaching carousel that saw six teams replace their leaders this offseason. Only one – Denver – hired someone who was not regarded for their defensive mind, that being Gary Kubiak.
So, who is this Dan Quinn man? Aside from the fact we know he was plucked from Florida when Gus Bradley left the Seahawks to run the Jacksonville Jaguars, which gives Seattle coach Pete Carroll a pretty good start to a coaching tree, there is the defensive mind that made the “Legion of Boom” a part of the sports lexicon of today.
Here are five things to know about Quinn, according to Rein Ferrin and the team’s website.
1. Super-Sized Momentum: Quinn arrives in Atlanta as the Falcons 16th head coach in franchise history, bringing momentum from back-to-back Super Bowl seasons with him, including one championship after the Seattle Seahawks topped the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Serving as the Seahawks' defensive coordinator the past two seasons, Quinn played a vital role in continuing the team’s defensive dominance. Under his watch, Seattle’s defense allowed the fewest points per game in the league and permitted just 267.1 yards per game in 2014.
The Seahawks were the only team in the NFL to allow fewer than 300 yards per game and a league-best 17.3 points per game. Quinn’s imprint on his defense was best personified by the “Legion of Boom,” the team’s secondary group, which allowed only 185.6 passing yards per game.
2. Unfazed by Distraction: In a league that is often times filled with distractions, Quinn showcased his ability to remain unfazed as evidenced during his head coaching interviewing process with teams after the regular season. Leading his Seahawks defense on a playoff run to Super Bowl XLIX, Quinn remained committed to his top priority — preparing Seattle for a possible repeat championship, while demonstrating time management by creating time to interviewing for potential jobs.
“We have such a big mission that we are on and Dan wants nothing more than doing exactly right to help us do what we have to do these next couple of days and the next week," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told the HeraldNet.com. "He has no intention other than that, he is dead solid on that."
Quinn's undistracted focus won't just benefit him but his coaching staff and players, as well, in the coming seasons.
3. A Leader of Men: Falcons owner and Chairman Arthur Blank said NFL head coaching attributes include being a great leader with clear vision and one who can motivate others; he found those qualities in Quinn.
“Dan has tremendous character,” Carroll told The Herald of Everett, Wash. “He has great leadership qualities. He is an excellent communicator. He’s got a competitive nature that I think he conveys.”
Quinn helped Seattle become the first team to lead the NFL in fewest points allowed for three-straight years since the 1969-71 Vikings. His past defensive efforts should cause Falcons fans to bank on an improved defense in 2015 and beyond.
4. True Players’ Coach: While getting a new coach can often times require extra time for building team unity and trust, that won’t be the case for the Falcons, according to Quinn’s former players.
"They are getting a great coach," Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner told the LA Times, when asked what Quinn brings to a team. “(He) is very open to talk. I think the biggest thing is he is a great communicator and definitely helps you understand the game."
5. High-Motors Expected: When the Falcons players meet Quinn for the first time, they’ll know immediately what kind of a coach he is and what he’ll expect from everyone on the roster. Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood worked with Quinn on staff at Hofstra in the late 1990s and believes the Falcons new head coach’s approach to the game then has helped lead to his current NFL success.
"If you weren't a high-motor guy and you weren't passionate about football, you weren't going to play for Dan Quinn,'' Flood said. "He's the total package. He's a really sharp Xs and Os football coach but also a great motivator and a really good person. (He's) somebody who elevates the people around them.''