First impressions mean everything. For Dan Quinn, he's in good standing so far with Falcons fans on his first day on the job.
Quinn was energetic and excited to be Atlanta's new head coach. This is his first full-time gig, so why wouldn't he be? But there was a genuine enthusiasm that made you understand why he was selected to be the new man in charge.
“I’m so fired up to be here with you guys today," Quinn said, to open his statement. And he was, talking much faster than any head coach the Falcons have ever had.
Quinn has known about this for a while, even though he wasn't supposed to admit it. He knew regardless what happened Sunday in Arizona this new challenge in Atlanta would await him. His first part of the speech was to reach out to Falcons fans to let them know what to expect.
Quinn said, "I know we have an extremely passionate fan base here in Atlanta. I want them to know that the brand of football that we are going to play is going to be fast and physical. We are going to attack in every phase that we can and then most importantly I would like you to know that the energy and the enthusiasm that you bring to the Atlanta Falcons can be unmatched in terms of the energy I will try to bring to you as your head football coach. It’s an unbelievable opportunity, one that I couldn't be more proud to be here with you today."
There were key words used often. The word "Effort" was used six times in his remarks, while "Physical" was used seven times. Those are the words you usually hear a new head coach use when he's taking over for something that has gone bad.
As predicted, Quinn's first order of business is to self-scout his own roster. He's got to get to know it first. He's been a little busy the last few weeks so don't blame him if he's done little more than glance at the depth chart.
“I think the biggest challenge for me is how fast I can get connected and learn our guys," Quinn said. "My sole goal is to get to know our guys. The best teams that I have been a part of are teams that were very close, so I am anxious to get around them to get to know them.
“We are going to start that process tonight. To me, that’s the number one goal. Before we get into discussion about any one scheme, we need to find out as much as we can about these players. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing. I am looking forward to getting connected to these players and I would think our evaluation of the roster would take through the spring and through the OTAs. In that time, however we can best feature these guys is what we are going to do.”
Quinn got a little technical. He talked about what he will do on defense, his type of defensive player and the expectations he will have on offense. Quinn named a few of his coaches, and there are a few more to hire. He was pretty much like a kid in a candy store.
Team owner Arthur Blank introduced Quinn and also outlined the organizational structure of the front office. There has been some ambiguity since the press release a few weeks ago that outlined a new setup Thomas Dimitroff remaining as general manager but Scott Pioli adding more responsibilities.
"Thomas as our general manager will have final authority over free agents and draft picks," Blank said. "Scott now has a responsibility for running free agency and the draft, which is a great use of his time and his talents and he still continues to report directly to Thomas. Dan will have final authority over the 53 and 46-man rosters, and practice squad.
"This structure is not unusual today in the National Football League. Ten of the clubs work this way, including eight that have hired new head coaches since 2010. It is a current trend. More importantly, this is about maximizing the capabilities of Thomas and Scott, while adding Dan’s unique strengths to the group. We have two accomplished leaders in Thomas and Scott. They have a long history of working together and a trust relationship."
Quinn embraced the setup. He did not mention Pioli, but repeated several times his anticipation of working with Dimitroff. Quinn was also asked about reporting directly to Blank.
“Number one it makes it easy in terms of where to go in terms of where to report, but the guy who I am connected with the most and looking to partner up with is Thomas," Quinn explained. "Our collaboration together and how we see things and how we see football really got in line early in our meeting. Finding a guy with his experience, knowledge and passion for football was important for me. I can’t wait to get started.”
He has a lot of work to do, but on his first day it was a job well done for Dan Quinn.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quinn wins the press conference
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