In 2009, long before the Falcons were looking for the 16th head coach in franchise history, Dan Quinn was beginning his first stint in Seattle as the Seahawks' defensive line coach. Also on that team was Patrick Kerney: a talented pass-rusher who spent eight years in Atlanta.
The two worked closely together that season, giving Kerney a strong impression of the man who is now tasked with building a winning culture at Flowery Branch. The two-time All-Pro offered high praise for Quinn last week in a conversation with AtlantaFalcons.com.
"Dan is highly detail-oriented with defensive line play," said Kerney. "Dan has a complete grasp of the intricacies, the details that will separate a pass-rusher. He knows the ways to address the hands; the ways to address certain steps by offensive linemen. He loves it. So if you're a player who is passionate about being great, you're with a coach who has that equal passion, who has invested a great deal of his life into helping others maximize that passion."
The longtime defensive end also spoke about Quinn a year ago, revealing some of the coach's traits Atlanta saw first-hand in 2015.
"He puts an extreme value on professionalism," Kerney told 680 the Fan last February. "Dan ... reserves the noise and in-your-face for choice moments. If you're working hard and you're thinking on the field, that's meeting his expectations. If you're not, if you're getting offsides and missing your assignments, that's when he gets loud. He picks his battles."
Kerney added that, like Pete Carroll, Quinn has an eye for great teachers. This was clear last season, when the Falcons coach put together a robust, talented staff -- one devoted to getting the most from Atlanta's roster.