Quinn Ready for the Bye
The Falcons plan on using this week to recharge, recover and improve themselves, per Quinn, who added that his team will spend a lot of time working on fundamentals – particularly tackling. As the Seahawks' defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014, Quinn knows what it's like to deal with a bye. He plans on using that knowledge to tailor the Falcons' approach in a way that best prepares them for a lengthy playoff run.
"I guess going through the experience, it certainly prepared me for what a blueprint could look like," Quinn said. "And I know each team is a little bit different and the unique challenges that it brings, and who's healthy and who needs more rest or less – but the focus will still be the same. And that'll be on our improvement. And when we do that and have a couple of things emphasized – during this time you don't have 10 things to work on, you may have one. 'I want to nail this part of my game to get it better.' And then as we get into the process next week, you go back to your routine."
Falcons Stayed Focused
As Matt Ryan noted Sunday evening, Atlanta's Week 17 victory was, in a sense, like a playoff win. The Falcons controlled their own fate all the way to the end of the regular season, and by taking advantage of that opportunity, they were able to bypass the wild card round and move three wins away from a Super Bowl title. Quinn commended his players for not getting ahead of themselves and taking care of business against New Orleans.
"We don't want to have to rely on anyone else. We're our own judges," he said. "We knew that this was going to be a hard-fought game yesterday, and it was. So as opposed to looking too far ahead of what we could be, I was proud that our team stayed right in the moment. They came back hard like we thought they would, but the guys kept battling, going for it and it came right down to the end. But for them – they were ready."
Mack a 'Critical Factor' for Offense
The Falcons made arguably the best free agent signing of 2016 when they brought center Alex Mack into the fold. The 31-year-old veteran received his fourth Pro Bowl nomination this season thanks to his leadership at the offensive line, his exceptional run blocking – which often took place downfield – and his reliable pass protection.
"It's hard to identify that sometimes because they don't show up on the stat sheet," Quinn said about O-linemen. "From an offensive side or a defensive side. But Alex is a real critical factor in what we do and how we play and the style that we play. So he is at the very front of it on every play, making the calls up and down the line. He is definitely a football junkie, and you see him communicating with the ref, you see him up and down the line.
"Yesterday we needed him on our PAT field goal team – he hadn't played on it all year – and he stepped in at guard and did a great job. And I would think if you ask (special teams coordinator) Keith Armstrong, there was no doubt that he was going to do that. He's someone that we count on quite a bit."