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Tight-Knit Staff Making Transition Easier

The Falcons' 2016 roster is constantly evolving and we've amassed all the players in one gallery that will be updated throughout the year

Since being hired in February, Dan Quinn has made it clear he plans on being a hands-on coach. He's brought it up it several times during press conferences, and on the field, the methodology is extremely noticeable: Rather than stand on the sidelines and instruct from afar, he's constantly running around and giving one-on-one attention — attention several players, including rookie Jalen Collins, have openly appreciated.

This proactive mindset extends to his assistants as well. And, given how familiar Quinn's staff is with him and each other, it's been easy to get everyone on board with the same philosophy.

Take quarterbacks coach Matt LeFleur: He previously worked alongside Kyle Shanahan (offensive coordinator) for six years, Bobby Turner (running backs) for four years and Chris Morgan (offensive line) for two years. Shanahan and Turner came to Atlanta together via Washington; Morgan, along with Marquand Manuel (secondary), joined Quinn from Seattle.

The list goes on and on.

"The continuity amongst the staff and the camaraderie is unlike anything I've been a part of first going into a job," LeFleur said. "I think it helps immensely, just because you know what the other guy is thinking before anything is said. From my standpoint, coaching the quarterbacks and working with (Shanahan), I know what he wants. He doesn't have to tell me. I can go and take the initiative and start coaching these guys because I know exactly what he wants me to tell them."

It's impossible to know if this cohesive environment will help Atlanta win football games, but it's nothing if not encouraging. And it seems to be making a difference already.

For example, those in the secondary believe they benefit from having lots of teachers installing Quinn's scheme, which Manuel said is foreign to all of the current defensive backs. Assistant head coach/defensive passing coordinator Raheem Morris has praised Manuel's ability to explain new techniques and articulate the finer points of this system, while himself and defensive coordinator Richard Smith, among others, focus on other areas.

"Let's give Dan Quinn some credit. He's hired a really good staff," Smith said. "Not only as coaches, but as people. I know that I've been around for a long time. Thing is to me, he's hired some great people. Along with that, his closeness to the staff and the staff's closeness to him has reflected upon the players."

While the Falcons have yet to put on pads, Smith believes this dynamic is already paying major dividends.

"Defensively, we all get along very well. We feed off of each other," he said. "There's not one spokesman in the room. We all get to talk to the players. I think any time you have one guy that's doing all the talking, that can get redundant and boring. And our room, in meetings it's not that way. It's the way Dan has structured. I think it's an outstanding system in terms of how he's got our meetings structured."

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