Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn spoke to the Charlotte media on Wednesday. Below is a transcript of the conversation.
On Ron Rivera's departure and the tenuous nature of the NFL coaching profession:
"We all know that when we get in. It's the life of a competitor, but you're exactly right. Tons of respect, not just from my times in Atlanta, but my admiration for him goes back during my time in Seattle. Going against him when I was there, games in Carolina, at Seattle, playoff games. All of those I definitely remember. Definitely somebody that I admire a lot."
On the type of person Ron Rivera is:
"Whether it's league meetings or interactions about things that go on, that's when you start to get to know somebody better. It's one thing just to compete against somebody, but then you get to know them more off the field, and he's definitely somebody that I look to and ask questions for. I just got tons of respect for his process, how he goes about things. You just think of rock solid, consistent – those are the things – if I went to Ron with a question, he was going to have an opinion and a good answer for it, and I definitely did that."
On the state of the Falcons:
"We had our bye (week) almost midway through – and that was about at eight games, and we had a four game block that ended on Thanksgiving. I know it's not a bye, but we do have that Thursday game. There is a sense of resetting and going. I thought we did some things better during the last part. We only went 2-2, so it wasn't like we got better in every area, but there was definitely improvement. As we're resetting again to go into the next block of four right back into the division, and that's how you like it. We know there's going to be division games coming down to the end of it. Those are fun to be a part of, but definitely for us, getting some of the health back of some of the guys. During the last game, we were out without a few. Sometimes those extra days can make a difference too. We're charged back up and ready to attack this next month with all we've got."
On how effective a healthy Cam Newton can be at age 31:
"Well, I think you see right now the quarterbacks are continuing to play at a high level for a really long time. In some areas, 31 is like man, he's got a long time to go. I would say he's always difficult to defend. He can rip it, he's got mobility, he has things in the run game that are unique only really to him – I think maybe him and (Ravens QB Lamar) Jackson to a certain extent that they're designed quarterback runs not based on a read of somebody else. That always makes it difficult, especially in the red zone – those are the ones to go. What I do know is the guy is a hell of a competitor and he's been, for years, really difficult to go against. As far as I know, that's kind of all I can go on."
On if he thinks Newton is a big time quarterback without his dual-threat ability:
"I think he'll always be a dual-threat quarterback just based on his history and how he plays ball. I would imagine, like any player coming back from an injury, you got to put the time and the work in to get back to doing all the things that make him so unique. You can say he might not be, but I would say that he always is."
On his thoughts of the Vegas books putting him as a 6-1 odds to coach for the Panthers:
"I don't know what to think of that. I didn't hear that. I guess Vegas, they'll do a line on anything. I couldn't be more pumped to be the coach here in Atlanta. Honestly, I love it here. Just battling as hard as I could. I spend very little time thinking about things that are down the line. I spend all my time just thinking how do we do what we do better. To think about what if I don't get it fixed, I'd rather spend all our waking time thinking about how to get it fixed. Don't really have a big comment on that one."
On if he has any background with interim head coach Perry Fewell:
"I know him through the league, but, no, I've never worked with Perry. Just from his background, obviously, studied and watched what they've done through the years at different spots – certainly in the secondary. So no, I don't have a working relationship with him, but I definitely know and regard him highly. Some of the guys on our staff have some experience, but not directly with me, no."
Re: On his familiarity with Scott Turner:
"I do know Scott just because he's been somebody I've had on my radar just of guys who I think are good coaches, but I would say for us from a preparation standpoint, when there's changes made to a team – whether it's, in this instance, it's a coordinator change – I make it similar to, okay, there's a backup quarterback in or something along those lines where they've got a rock solid foundation, they've got a real team and are committed to it. How does Scott have his own variations to it with how I would look at it, as compared to another quarterback stepping in to make a play? That's the best way I could explain it to our team. They know how to feature their players, good scheme, good attitude about it. They've got all of that in order. Maybe that's the best way for me to compare of how you do it when a change goes on, is the way of a backup quarterback.
On if this is a dangerous team to play now given the circumstances that have transpired:
"I would say no more dangerous than before, just because – the fun part of playing division games, and you know this, is just all the matchups that go on. As you're getting through it, the players have a good sense for one another because of competing against one another through the years or through the season. What's different is for the rookies. That's their second time going back and playing someone. They don't usually do that in college. They get a sense for a guy, and then that's it – but then here it is just three weeks later. You go back and you study some tendencies and some players. Quite often the coaches are the ones that hit the scheme part, but the players are really dialed in – this stance, this look, this motion. They have a real sense of who they're competing against. I think that's when a team can really be at their best when the scheme part and the players, obviously studying the individual techniques of a player – how does he get off the press, how does he release. Those are things I think that when it all comes full circle. No, not more dangerous than normal. In our league, you go battle for it. It's a part of the fun of being in the NFL. There's lots of good matchups all over the field. Not more than normal. Division games are always – you enjoy fighting in all of them, from Carolina to Atlanta to all of them, they're fun games to be apart of."