1. Back Together Again: Marquand Manuel reunites with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn in Atlanta, hired as the team's secondary coach/senior defensive assistant, following the three seasons as a member of the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff. Manuel served as a defensive assistant for the last two years under Quinn, who was the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks (2013-14). During the 2012 season, Manuel worked as Seattle's special teams assistant. Prior to Seattle, he worked for Quinn, who was the Florida Gators defensive coordinator, serving as a coaching intern in 2011.
2. NFL Experience: Manuel's coaching career began after playing eight seasons in the NFL as a defensive back. Entering the league as a sixth-round draft pick in 2002 by the Cincinnati Bengals, the former Florida Gator played in 116 games with 58 starts in his career, playing for the Bengals, Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions.
3. A Rising Star: Following Seattle's Super Bowl-winning season in 2013, Manuel was interviewed by Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who offered high praise for the young coach. "He's a very bright guy," King said during a MMQB podcast in 2014. "I didn't know him at all when he played in the NFL, but (I) have watched his practices a couple of times out in Seattle, and I think he is a rising star in the coaching profession."
4. A Winning Philosophy: King praised the Seattle Seahawks, including Manuel, for their ability at getting the most production out of players who are not deemed as high-profile talents. The Falcons new secondary coach/senior defensive assistant explained the reason for such success, referring to the Seahawks "Legion of Boom."
"When you go back to day one with these guys, the process of coming in and understanding and buying in to the system, 'I'm not an individual, I'm a part of the system, I can take my characteristics, my techniques that I learned and go out and perform and do it on a daily basis', I think that (was) the hidden gem with all of (those) guys," Manuel said. "They take our teaching and go out, and they apply it daily, and that's the main difference." Look for Manuel to preach the same message to his new secondary in Atlanta.
5. Preaching Physicality: Since being introduced as the team's head coach in February, Quinn has preached a fast, attacking style of play, including efforts by physical cornerbacks. Manuel explained to King that because of the large and dominant receivers in today's game, bigger cornerbacks help in a variety of ways.
"You have to have a guy who is able to go up and contest and play the ball in the air," Manuel said. "One thing about the length, it negates a lot of speed; you can't get off of the press (coverage), you can't get downfield." Falcons fans are excited to see how Manuel maximizes the many talents of their team's secondary, including those of cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford.