By HCR Staff | Aug. 15, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn.
Dan Quinn is building a strong program for owner Arthur Blank — one that has identifiable and consistent principles, a program being built to last for a long time.
The Falcons will be a perennial contender. They have an influential owner (Blank runs the committee that decides Commissioner Roger Goodell’s compensation), an excellent training center, a new stadium, a team president who chairs the NFL’s influential Competition Committee, and a deep, young roster formed by one of the best GMs in football, Tom Dimitroff.
Notwithstanding all of the positive attributes of the Falcons organization, Quinn is the key. Quinn’s strongest skill as head coach is his ability to create a positive and cohesive culture around all of the Falcons — from QB Matt Ryan to the scouts, the groundskeepers and custodians.
Quinn is a fountain of positive energy, and the cohesion he’s created has propelled the Falcons and made the team a perennial contender. His enthusiasm is a rare gift, and goes beyond mere rah-rah. Quinn is forever teaching and expanding the minds of his players and coaches, even if the source material has nothing to do with football.
Quinn is very good at coaching his own staff. This is an underrated quality. Coaches want to coach for him — they don’t dread working for him. Quinn also is not shy with his praise for his assistant coaches. This demonstrates a lack of ego and his subordinates appreciate this.
Quinn also has been very good at creating a vision for the type of squad that he wants — he places a premium on speed and athleticism, not necessarily size. He’s been very good at developing a team design specifically to dominate a dome-style of play.
We would not say Quinn is in the top tier of strategists among NFL head coaches at this point (witness the blown lead in the Super Bowl against the Patriots). He is, however, among the very best at understanding what his players can or cannot do.
While the Falcons managed to make the playoffs last season and notch an impressive win against the Rams, the season as a whole was slightly uneven. The game planning all year was inconsistent, particularly on offense. This probably was due to the integration of new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
Defensively, the Falcons are very similar to the Seahawks, Chargers and Jaguars. They want to utilize a fairly simple scheme with fast, athletic players and not get beat over the top. The Falcons, however, have started to show more specific game plan tendencies, starting with the Super Bowl against the Patriots.
The NFC South is, in our estimation, the toughest division in the NFL. Head coach Dan Quinn will have the Falcons contending again — there simply are too many positive ingredients for the Falcons to not be a strong team.
Previous HC Previews:
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints