NFL Wire News

Quinn eager to revive Falcons

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn held his first practice of the 2015 training camp on Friday while rap music was blaring from the speakers.

After two consecutive losing seasons, the franchise fired Mike Smith, the winningest coach in team history. Quinn, who was Seattle’s defensive coordinator the past two seasons, was hired as Atlanta’s 16th head coach in February.

He hopes to revive the team, which posted five straight winning seasons under Smith from 2008 to 2012 and reached the NFC Championship Game after the 2012 season.

“This is not a rebuild in any way,” Quinn said. “Everything we are doing is about right now.”

His first meeting with the team was up-tempo.

“It’s about us having the best camp that we can have,” Quinn said. “We are leaving all other expectations outside. Our whole message is what are we competing for? That answer is to see how good we can get.”

He was pleased with the first practice.

“I liked the attitude and the style,” Quinn said. “For the players, I couldn’t have been more excited to get started.”

Quinn was running around and even got involved with the defensive ends and outside linebackers during pass-rushing drills.

“For the coaches, we feed a lot off the players too and the energy that they bring is contagious,” Quinn said. “I know that we’ll play our really best when we are close. The energy has to be there to make that happen.”

There was one penalty and one takeaway by the defense. Defensive back Phillip Adams came up with an interception along the sideline.

“We have a long way to go, but for the first day in terms of where we want to get to, I was really pleased,” Quinn said. “We only had one penalty called and the turnover rate was one takeaway defensively. One turnover for the offense. But for the first day, there was a lot to do. I liked their mindset.”

Quinn had to watch the reps of left tackle Jake Matthews (foot surgery) and center Joe Hawley (knee surgery). Matthews split time with Tyler Polumbus while Hawley practiced, but isn’t ready for snaps in 11-on-11.

“We want to ease them back into terms of a rep count,” Quinn said. “They’ll go just as hard with the reps they get. They may not go as many.”

Right tackle Ryan Schraeder was eased out of the action with a muscle strain.

While wide receiver Roddy White has passed the torch to Julio Jones as the team’s top receiver, White remains a potent weapon and team leader.

“We want to be the best team in the league this year,” White said. “That’s our goal.”

Don’t mention the word rebuilding to White.

“We don’t want to say we are rebuilding or we are restarting — this team has been a good team,” White said, “with the core players that have been around here for four or five years now. Our core players are intact. We don’t need much to get over the hump.”

The Falcons, who didn’t make any big-splash signings in free agency, spread their money around to 16 different free agents from other teams to help retool the roster.

White believes that with the new additions and the holdovers, the Falcons can forge a turnaround.

“We have all of the people that we need to be a better football team,” White said. “We just have to go out there and execute. Just go out there and find a way to win ballgames.”


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