Falcons head coach Dan Quinn's Q&A with the Charlotte media ahead of Week 2.
On Norv Turner's use of the run-game with Cam against Dallas: "It didn't surprise me from Cam's involvement in the run-game. Norv's an experienced guy and knows how to feature the players and the things that they do best. What you did see, you could really see the system in place, the play action that goes along with that…that to me was good. I thought probably a pretty good connection with those two, of a guy whose accurate throwing the deep balls and Norv, that's been part of their system for a while in terms of taking shots down the field. I guess I was not surprised in any way. I was anxious to see how much they would feature their run game which I think is unique to the NFL and it looked as I'd expect, really on point in a lot of ways."
On Carolina's offense taking more shots down field this week: "I think I do only because that's a part of the system and it's part of the thing they've done well. I certainly think they've added speed to the roster, last year and this year. They've really got some guys that can fly. That part I think is intact. In my mind, from competing against Norv through the years, he knows how to attack and if there's moments that call for that I certainly would think that would be part of the plan."
On young cornerbacks covering Julio Jones: "For the guys who are coming in to the league and getting their chance to battle and fight, you always want to see where you're at and it gives you a good chance to measure yourself. Most terrific competitors want their shot to go see who's the best. We have a corner here, he plays nickel for us, named Brian Poole. I knew we had something with Brian three years ago as an undrafted rookie. In those training camp lines he was looking to go against Julio, not avoid him. So I think as a player you learn what are strengths and weaknesses and where do you go? Julio's an experienced guy who knows a lot of the…not just the routes but how to maneuver himself into different spaces. I think there's a lot to be gained, especially when you stand up and make plays in a lot of ways, not just Julio but any player, gives you a lot of good confidence knowing that you're really on point and you know how to play."
On James Bradberry: "I think the size that he plays with, he just looks long when he's playing. So to see him have and use his length at corner, it really shows. He knows how to stay on top, he can play at the line of scrimmage, and make guys have to release and work for every step that they get. I've been impressed by him and for years in the slot with Captain and his aggressive style that he plays. James is certainly one, and we like Donte coming out of LSU. We've got a few LSU guys ourselves. We spent a good bit of time looking in to him as well. We went down to LSU, had a workout down there with him and had him up here for a visit. I can see why they like him. He's got the speed to be explosive and I'd imagine when they get their own guys matched up into some people there's some excellent battles for them as well."
On Donte Jackson's personality: "I think I recognized that he was a real competitor right away and one of those players that just wasn't going to back down. It just came across that way, not in an arrogant way, but in a guy that really wanted to fight and challenge you. I remember meeting him at the combine, he wanted to have the fastest 40 time…"Oh I'm doing it," you could sense it wasn't coming across in a fake way or a fake "tough guy" he was really trying to compete and battle. I like the energy that he played with. So to have veterans in that room to help mentor some of these young guys coming up…I think that's a piece that goes unnoticed at sometimes for a guy like Adams who really represents that at the highest level. Sometimes those guys can have a very big impact on a player like Donte to, "show them the way" so to speak. We certainly have some on our team who mentor some of these guys on their way up and if they can get off, their career on the right foot because of men like that and teammates like that, I think it goes a long way. Donte's competitiveness probably was the thing that helped me understand who he was, all though he was slight in weight he certainly wasn't backing down from anybody."
On concerns about Carolina's defense coming off a solid performance against Dallas: "They played terrific and I commend Eric for his first game calling. I've walked that walk that he has, so as a defensive line coach and making the transition I thought he called an excellent game and really was on point just like the guys were. Their front seven played aggressive. From a style standpoint, Ron and I really see defense the same. Stack the box, play aggressive, rotate the guys up front and try to affect the run game first. More than anything, I've been impressed by the development between Mario and Kawann through the years. It's always good to see guys keep making improvements. They've certainly shown that their development is outstanding. Then adding a guy like Dontari to the group, we know well, he's rock solid, accountable in every way. Much like I talked about with the young secondary and that, having a guy like Dontari and Julius there to help develop and mentor some of these guys, I think that's significant."
On DJ Moore and working in Calvin Ridley slowly: "We're hopeful not to work him in slowly although the stat line would reflect that from last week. We thought we had some options to get Cal involved, we just didn't nail them as we'd hoped to. I think he does not have to be worked in slowly in this case. He was really equipped to come from a system that was similar, from Alabama, from a pro-style system. So he came in maybe a little ahead of the curve in that way. Sometimes the guys who come in from maybe a spread system in college, it takes them a little bit longer. There was a number of spots that we were looking, defensive line, receiver, corner, were kind of up in the forefront of our minds. DJ was one, Raheem Morris went up to Maryland and worked him out. I knew the coach at Maryland, DJ Durkin well, and he spoke so highly of him. The thing I really admired about both DJ and Cal was although they were young and receivers, man did these guys really compete. And I thought they really established that in the tape looked like a physical style whether it was with the ball in their hand, without the ball in their hands. Both guys were explosive. We're able to use Cal as a returner some and we were looking at DJ in that same way. He was definitely somebody that was on our radar and I think he'll be off to a good start as well."
On addition of Dontari Poe: "This is a really accountable guy. He'll be able to play any technique that Eric and the guys want him to be. He's one of those rare players, rather it was 3-4, 4-3, he could have been good in any system, I really sense that with Dontari. He played terrific at Kansas City, he played terrific with us. Won in a 3-4 system, back here in a 4-3 system. He's got this strength down in the lower body that he can really anchor in. Sometimes he would eat these double teams and just sit right down. That part was very clear to me this was a well-equipped guy. Often times the D-line has got communication that takes place between he and Kawann and Vern and the guys inside, but his accountability to his teammates to make sure he was going to play the things correctly, that's I thought where he was really at his best. I thought he was an excellent excellent run player in a lot of ways and is a good athlete. I don't know if they're using him on goal line but he was good in that way too."
On Falcons red-zone issues: "We just didn't nail and we missed the mark on a couple of plays down there. It was a point of emphasis for us. By no means is that our best what we have in the red-zone. We have a lot of ball to play. We know you guys up there at Carolina, their red-zone game is on point as well, talking about the Panthers defense. We're anxious to play again, we love the match-up because of the division, man it's so much fun to be back in a division game. Last year we had to wait until almost November to play a division game. Where this year, we and I'm sure you guys would agree, we feel like the NFC South is the best one in the NFL. That's why each of these match-ups are so critical, so important. Lot of them go right down to the end because the teams are so evenly matched. A lot of preparation goes in, we definitely did a lot of self-scouting in the off season to help in our red-zone issues. We missed the mark this week, but we've got a lot of work to do. We know we have the right people and the right plan to put it in place."
On Panthers missing Greg Olsen: "All teams deal with injuries…it may not affect the preparation standpoint because in most instances a scheme doesn't change based on just one player. What does change is the match-ups and how do you put certain guys on certain players. Much like where we lose Keanu and how do we play Kazee in some of the roles that he has and Deion Jones, and how do we feature Duke Riley and the ways that he can. More often than not, the coaching staff will try to feature the players of the things they do best. By no means is anybody going to step in and say, "OK he'll just be like Greg," that'd be a hard job for anybody. So from a game planning standpoint, scheme-wise we don't generally look at it a lot different, but from a match-up standpoint we look to say who's next and how does that affect the match ups that we look for, especially in some of the man to man situations."
On dealing with injuries on defense: "It's never something that you like, but having that contingency planning we really feel it's important to play the players. That's all the way through the offseason, all the way through the preseason games. When these moments come up, which you don't like, you feel ready. We don't ask the players, "Hey Ricardo Allen you've got to play the game of your life because Keanu isn't here." It's just the opposite, he's got to play as good as he can do and play really well all the time, not when we do things differently. In some respects, and this may sound unusual, it can be a little bit easier at times because the players have shared so many reps, when an injury takes place in an early part of the year. They players have not really established all the reps as it does. For us, Duke and Kazee have been ones that have been playing a lot, getting a lot of reps as you're going. Some positions…if it happens in week 15 or 16, it can actually be harder to replace because one player may have gotten the bulk of the work. In this instance with those two guys, their back-ups have been playing a lot. Not easy to do, but one that we're equipped to do and we'll try to feature the guys and the things that they do best, much like I spoke about with Greg. Not to say that it'll be the same, you'll have to feature the guys and the things that they do very well and that includes Duke and Kazee with us."
On changes he's seen in Panthers defense since Julio's 300+ yard game in 2016: "In a number of ways, them adding players in to the mix certainly is a factor in that. But every once in a while something just goes haywire and it gets out of whack to go. I am more than impressed, we talked about Bradberry earlier, adding Donte to the group, Da"Norris is somebody that's been really rock solid for a while and Captain. It would appear, and then Mike as the Veteran, the one to make sure the communication and everything is on point. It would seem like they really have players that fit the style and system that Ron likes. And that's really part of scouting and coaching as it ties together. We've made a shift in some of our defensive guys to add speed, to add the things that allow us to play the style we like. More than anything it just looks like the guys they've added really fit the system they want to run and I'm talking about James, Captain, Dante, Da'Norris, all the guys on the back end."
On contingency plans in regards to Hurricane Florence: "Nothing from our end yet. What I have motored is if guys who have family members, especially down by the coast, whether it's in South Carolina or North Carolina, but past that we haven't heard too much of guidelines…We're heard nothing on how it'll affect Atlanta yet, but I guess the one good thing from a travel and logistic standpoint the two cities are close enough the team can get here whether they get here early or drive down or however it works. We'll be ready and I know they will be too. We've not heard anything outside of regular news information and from my end players checking on families in that area."