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Quinn has Falcons flying to the ball

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was elated for the team to move into phase three of the offseason program with the start of their Organized Team Activities on Tuesday.

“It was an awesome day out there to get connected with our whole team at once,” Quinn said. “As we get started into our next phase of our offseason program, phase three allows us to get a chance to work with everybody together.

“The emphasis going into today, we had a lot of third-down work and some two-minute (drills). I thought the guys did a good job for our first time doing that as a whole group.”

With music blaring and the tempo high, the Falcons appeared to move around the three practice fields with a purpose.

“No. 1, we wanted to really learn how to practice fast against each other, but doing it safely,” Quinn said. “When we become a really good practicing team, that’s when it will carry over into the game. The No. 1 priority was just the tempo and attitude that we’re trying to practice with.”

While the drills are non-contact, Quinn saw some benefit in the units being able to line up against each other.

“Outside linebackers going against tight ends,” Quinn said. “Guards and centers going against defensive tackles. Wide receivers going against (defensive backs.) That type of competition when you get to go back and forth against somebody, that’s really what will make us (improve). That’s one of the things I was most pleased about as we got started in the practice today.”

The Falcons have installed most of their attack and are now working through it for the second or third time with some of the players.

“I think generally you can see when a guy really has his details down,” Quinn said. “That’s when he plays his fastest. It’s oftentimes when they are still learning the playbook and still getting it down, there is a little hesitancy. Fortunately, the speed of that is picking up, which allows us to play a little more freely.”

Quinn has clearly made running to the ball and creating turnovers an emphasis.

“All the calls that we have are designed to go after the ball,” Quinn said. “That’s really the mindset.”

While the defense was ahead of the offense, which is installing the outside zone running scheme, Quinn was pleased.

“Very few busts,” Quinn said. “If that continues, the effort and energy even goes higher and higher.”

–After being cut by Carolina, the Falcons picked up safety Charles Godfrey last season. He was mostly insurance and didn’t see any action from scrimmage.

He handled the situation like a professional and will get a look at free safety this season.

“He’s had terrific experience playing safety, both free and strong,” Quinn said. “The range in the middle of the field is what we see. If he can do that and have an impact to go get the ball, those are things that kind of jumped out to us through his career up until now and through the first few practices.”


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