The NFL's bye week allows teams the chance to self-scout and examine every facet of their game, and that's exactly what Falcons coach Dan Quinn did this past week.
With Atlanta's bye coming later in the season, Quinn had no shortage of tape to watch, giving himself an opportunity to get down to the nitty-gritty of what he's pleased with so far and what he would like to see improvement in.
No matter the opponent or final outcome, one area of the Falcons' game that repeatedly stood out to Quinn was his team's regard for the football. Atlanta is plus-three in the turnover margin, tied for eighth in the NFL.
"I'm most pleased [with the fact] that we really have a regard for the ball," Quinn said. "You see a real regard from the receivers, the tight ends, the running backs in terms of protecting it for their brothers. Defensively, the ball-hawking mindset, we've forced some fumbles – the ability to go dig for it."
The Falcons believe in this aspect of their game so much so that Thursdays in Flowery Branch are called "Turnover Thursday" with the ball being the central theme of the day.
And it's paying off.
In Quinn's first season at the helm, the Falcons finished minus-seven in the turnover margin, which was 27th in the NFL. Atlanta forced 23 takeaways but turned the ball over a whopping 30 times.
Quinn's group has dramatically cut down on the turnovers this season and continuously shows their relentless pursuit of creating takeaways with their ball-hawking mentality. So far, the Falcons have forced 11 takeaways and have only tallied eight turnovers.
With the playoff race heating up in the NFC, every opportunity from here on out is sacred; putting that much more attention on ball protection and creating takeaways.