ATLANTA – There's no denying that Dan Quinn's plate will be fuller than ever in the 2019 season now that he's assuming the role of defensive coordinator in addition to his head coaching duties.
While Quinn's success will ultimately be judged on wins and losses, now he'll be held directly responsible for Atlanta's defensive performance. Not to say he wasn't held accountable before as a defensive-minded head coach, but he wasn't the one calling the plays on gameday.
Sure, Quinn certainly had input and was heavily involved on the defensive side of the ball as it his defense the Falcons run. Now he'll be the one calling the shots all season long and of course with that comes added responsibility.
"Now that he's taking back the defensive play-calling, it's not just a matter of wins and losses," NFL Network analyst and Super Bowl-winning head coach Brian Billick said. "You're going to be second-guessed on all 1,200 calls you make. Every blitz should have been a zone, every zone should have been a blitz. That's what they're going to run you out of town with much quicker than wins and losses now that you've taken that on."
Fortunately for Quinn and the Falcons, this isn't the first time he's put himself in this position. When the Falcons went on their Super Bowl run in 2016, Quinn took over the play-calling for the last four games of the regular season into the playoffs.
The Falcons went 6-1 with Quinn calling the plays during that stretch run and his success as a defensive coordinator before his time as Falcons' head coach speaks for itself.
Prior to coming to Atlanta in 2015, Quinn's defense in Seattle ranked No. 1 in total defense and scoring defense in back-to-back seasons (2013-14).
And Billick believes that success will continue for Quinn.
"Dan's a brilliant coach, he'll do a good job," Billick said. "He's got a great mind for the game. A great rapport with the players. He knows exactly what players he needs and what skills to do what they're doing. But at the end of the day, you have to have the players. Dan is as good as there is."