One phone call from the Falcons was all it took to get linebacker Brooks Reed excited about the possibilities of playing for head coach Dan Quinn in Atlanta. Reed signed with the Falcons as a free agent in March after spending his first four years with the Houston Texans. The former second-round pick (42nd overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft started 52 out of 59 games for Houston, giving Quinn plenty of tape to review.
"As soon as Atlanta contacted my agent, I knew that it was going to be a good thing with Dan Quinn, a defensive coach," Reed said. "In the past, I've had two head coaches that were both offensive-minded coaches, so this is definitely a good thing and him having a strong emphasis on the defensive line and pass rush, I think will help my game a lot."
Among the many things Reed loves about Quinn is the head coach's ability to put players in positions to succeed. He says Quinn runs a defense that allows his guys to play fast, physical football, not having to overthink in the scheme. Regardless of how easy or complex Quinn's system may be to master, Reed is a quick learner.
In 2013 with the Texans, he was asked to play strong-side linebacker (Sam) for the first time in his career, totaling 16 starts and career-highs in tackles (87) and tackles for loss (nine), along with six quarterback hits and three sacks. The Falcons told Reed he'll be initially playing the same (Sam) position in 2015, also utilizing his skills in other spots as needed.
The Falcons agreed to terms with Brooks Reed, who spent four seasons in Houston after being selected by the Texans in the second round of the 2011 draft
The benefit of having Quinn as a head coach is just the start for Reed, who will also be helped by new Falcons linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich, who is just five years removed from the league as a player.
"He kind of reminds me of (Texans linebackers coach) Mike Vrabel, my last position coach, who is also a very young guy and you can tell that they both still want to play," Reed said.
"They (both) have that young spirit in them, and I think it rubs off on the other guys. Really what you want as a player is to really love the coach you're playing for, and I think Jeff is the type of guy you want to play hard for."
Reed joins a Falcons linebackers group filled with some youth, including Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu, entering their third NFL seasons, while 2015 will be Prince Shembo's second season in the league. Reed is excited for the "young locker room" and for the "high-intensity coaches" who are going to help improve the team.
"It all starts with attitude," Reed said. "Just a general attitude change that the coaches will bring in, and I think they know how to do that; they've done it in the past. Everyone is excited about what's going on here, and there's no doubt that there's going to be more intensity on this defense, and I think you'll see that."