FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – What do we need to start doing?
What do we need to stop doing?
And what do we need to do differently?
Those are the three questions at the forefront of Falcons head coach Dan Quinn's mind as he begins the process of reviving the defense as the play-caller.
Following the 2018 season, Quinn announced he would be taking over as defensive coordinator moving forward in addition to his duties as head coach. Quinn, if you recall, took over play-calling for the final quarter of the 2016 season when the Falcons went on their Super Bowl run.
After an assessment of the season, Quinn felt "the compass was off" in terms of the identity his defense was playing with in 2018. To help ensure the style he wants his unit to play with comes to life more, he decided taking the reins back was the best way to make sure that was the case.
"We're looking for real consistency," Quinn said of what he wants moving forward. "There [were] definitely times during the 2017 season we improved as a defense. Then I thought [it felt like] when you take two steps forward one step back. I wanted to make sure if I could have an impact and an influence on the defense and really play to a style that was true to how I would like it to look I should be the one making the calls."
Quinn has been clear since the day he arrived in Atlanta on the brand of football he wants his team to display: Fast and physical.
At all times.
Physicality was something Quinn felt his defense was missing towards the latter part of the 2018 season and with that being a staple of his program, there's no doubt that what he's looking to see moving forward.
"I love tough, hard-nosed defensive play," Quinn said. "I think to be championship-caliber teams, you better have an edge to you. The best defenses I've been a part of have had a good ball-hawking mindset and if you can do that and eliminate explosive plays, you have a really good chance to do well."
And as Quinn continues gears up for free agency and the draft, it's pretty clear what he's looking for in 2019.
"Let's make sure we get nastier," Quinn said. "It might be big and nasty, it might be fast and nasty. Let's make sure there's no doubt."