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Keys to Victory: Falcons at Dolphins

As the Falcons get set to take on the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night, head coach Dan Quinn provided insight on what his team must do to leave Florida with a win.

Here are this week's Keys to Victory:

All eyes on the offensive line

Atlanta's offensive line will be challenged by a stout Miami defensive front and their play will be vital to the success in both the pass and run game. Quinn wants to establish balance on offense, and the guys in the trenches will play a big role in that specific area.

"We want to play on their side of their line," Quinn said. "They have a real aggressive front, and we like to think we have an aggressive front. That matchup is going to be a good one. They really penetrate their aggressives, so we need to come off that way."

How will Quinn and Co. evaluate the play of this group? It all boils down to two specific stats: Yards per carry and completion percentage.

Create takeaways

You've heard it before and you'll hear it again: It's all about the ball for the Falcons. Quinn's defense is centered around creating takeaways, and despite winning both exhibition games, they have yet to do so in the preseason, losing the turnover battle in each contest.

"Can we create takeaways? We've had two ball games where we haven't created them, so we've shined a light on that," Quinn said.

Field position is everything

For Quinn and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, the success of the special teams unit will be determined by field position.

"For the cover units, [it's] the field position start," Quinn said. "That's the battle. Where does their average drive start and where does our average drive start? If we can win them in that way, that's all field position. Are we better than them in drive starts?"

Shayne Graham will be be taking over the kicking duties for the Falcons and Quinn is hopeful the operation is seamless.

There's no denying the importance of the final box score, but for Quinn and his staff in the preseason, the emphasis remains on player evaluation.

"In the preseason, it's not about the game plan," Quinn said. "It's about the evaluation of the players. It's paramount."

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