In a Strange Preseason, Dan Quinn Accepts The Challenge

ATLANTA (AP) – In an age that is anything but normal, Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn has not lost his eternal optimism.

What does it matter if the NFL remains in confinement due to the coronavirus pandemic?


This has only given Quinn a chance to find new ways to get closer to the players and address their concerns during the break before next season.

“There are a lot of things we don’t know that we can’t do,” Quinn said Tuesday in a video conference with Atlanta media. “I prefer to focus on what we know and what we can do.”

This week, he has put his rookies in a virtual camp while veterans take a few days off. He is also facing the usual problems a coach has in the middle of the period of inactivity between campaigns, and which are more relevant for someone who may have to reach the playoffs to keep his job.

For example, the Falcons left an open spot on their 90-player roster because they want to hire an additional kicker before camp.

Quinn is aware of what happened a year ago, when the Falcons gave Giorgio Tavecchio the job without another kicker in camp, only to end up failing in the preseason. This forced the team to bring back veteran Matt Bryant, who also faced difficulties and was decommissioned.

Younghoe Koo finally gave stability to the position. He converted 23 of 26 field goals but the Falcons want to keep him from getting overconfident.

“We are definitely considering adding a kicker,” Quinn said.

However, this is unlikely to occur until teams can reopen their training facilities.

As for working with players through video conferencing, Quinn said he has had a chance to brush up on his teaching skills – especially when it comes to keeping everyone involved.

“I start the meetings with questions that we talked about the day before,” he said. “I’m usually specific. They are not group questions. I tell the player, ‘this is for you.’ ”

If the player has a problem with the answer, Quinn will go for a “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Game format.

“They want a 50-50, or you want to ask the audience,” said the coach with a smile.

It is all part of the new reality of the NFL, at least until the restrictions are relaxed.

“I love teaching,” said Quinn. “It’s so much fun finding different ways to do it.”