The Falcons’ Recent Success Involves Thinking Outside The Box

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Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons fans hold up brotherhood signs prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers in the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons fans hold up brotherhood signs prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers in the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Dan Quinn has instilled a strong bond amongst the Falcons’ players & coaches since his arrival to Atlanta. In doing so, his methods haven’t always been conventional. The sports landscape is ever changing & with analytics creeping into all sports, the new school mindset may leave some dinosaurs behind. Quinn has challenged both status quos, however, and developed a new norm that can best be described as “Quinning.”


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Creating value on the field

Moving a defensive backs coach to wide receiver coach – Sure, there have been many coaching changes by various teams, especially when it means promotion up the football hierarchy, but Raheem Morris had been known as a defensive coach throughout his career, including his head coaching stint in Tampa Bay. Quinn decided to shift Morris over to the offensive side of the football which was viewed as curious by some. So far, so good for the wide receiver/assistant head coach. He brings a fresh viewpoint by having coached both defensive backs & now wide receivers firsthand.

Two-way player – It’s not groundbreaking, but no coach is going to attempt a move such as this, especially in today’s NFL. Ben Garland has provided needed depth along the offensive & defensive lines. Heck, he even made key plays on both sides of the ball throughout 2016. You’re the backup center, now go rush the passer & pick up a sack. Not necessarily conventional.

Signing of a Georgia track & field star – Former University of Georgia track and field star Garrett Scantling finished fourth during trials to make the 2016 U.S Olympic decathlon team. Now he’s on the Falcons’ roster vying for a spot at wide receiver. This is a move former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis could relate to. Scantling hasn’t played the position since high school, but speed kills in the National Football League. Why not bring a guy in? No harm, no foul. Competition across the entire roster? Yes, please.

Creating value off the field

Learning from the best – Not all hard work & preparation is simply between the white lines. Quinn has sought out advice from some fellow leading men in other sports: Steve Kerr is head coach of the Golden State Warriors with a NBA championship in hand, while Cleveland Indians’ manager Terry Francona has two World Series championships in the trophy case during his time in Major League Baseball. Kerr and Francona are two coaches who have reached the pinnacle in their respective professions, but have also experienced setbacks on the largest stage. Quinn has studied both and received advice on how they lead, as well as how they handle success and failure. Win the clubhouse, win the locker room, win on the field!

Family matters – In 2016, general manager Thomas Dimitroff & Quinn teamed up to create what could best be described best as “family matters.” Before an extended road trip of back to back games on the west coast, Quinn & Dimitroff sent bouquets of flowers to the wives of Falcons players. This was a gesture simply to say thanks to the extended Falcons family for their support throughout the long, grueling football season. Talk about putting a stamp on how important a unified organization can be.

In Brotherhood – Lastly, Quinn brought in Navy SEALs to help begin the transformation to what he dubbed the “Brotherhood” at the beginning of 2016. This became the common theme amongst Falcons players throughout their Super Bowl run. The bond has grown stronger, and the Falcons organization couldn’t be more tightly knit as they began to embark on the 2017 journey. I, for one, can’t wait for more!

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