Dan Quinn, the optimist’s optimist, foresees sunny days for his Falcons

Dan Quinn, before the fall in Houston. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Contrary to outward appearance, there are things Dan Quinn does not love. On the eve of the Falcons’ training camp, the Earth’s sunniest human was asked to cite examples of stuff for which he actually has a distaste.

“People who are dishonest,” he said. “That really bothers me. People who will say something to get close to the players. I think, ‘That’s shady.’”

As for the men he coaches, Quinn offered this: “Lack of effort and lack of concentration. Let’s say you and Brian (Cearns, the Falcons’ publicist standing nearby) are battling, and you’re not doing well. I’m like, ‘Well, you need to figure a way to do better.’ But if you’re not putting out the effort, that ticks me off.”

Then: “There are some things I don’t understand. Like when Mark Bradley writes something and I think, ‘Why would he write that? That is totally off-base.’ That ticks me off.”

The offending author notes that Quinn smiled as he said this. He is, as mentioned, the Earth’s sunniest human. And if your team is coming off the worst loss in the history of the Western world – and his is – he’s probably the guy you’d want coaching it. Happy Dan isn’t going to turn into Gloomy Gus because the Falcons finished second in a Super Bowl they led by 25 points. On cue, Happy Dan is again rarin’ to go.

“We want to be the best attacking team in ball,” he said Wednesday, speaking at a media briefing, and therein we saw – not for the first time – how rarin’ DQ can be. He shortened the word “football” by four letters. He referred to doctors as “docs.” He mentioned something medical-related as “ops” – opinions, I believe, as opposed to operations. When there’s ball to be played, Quinn has no time for extra syllables.

And he has – even that naysayer M. Bradley will concede as much – one heck of a team. On paper, it looks rather better than the group that led the Super Bowl by 25 points. Desmond Trufant, who’s terrific, is healthy. Dontari Poe, Takkarist McKinley (the guy getting the “ops,” FYI) and Duke Riley should add to a defense that got pretty darn good after Quinn took hold of it late last season.

Said Thomas Dimitroff, the general manager: “I’m more excited about this roster than I’ve ever been.” He also characterized his defensive line as “a manly group.” He also said, “This organization is oozing with competition” – even at the famous pingpong table in the locker room! Can anything stop this manly group on its path to domination of all ball?

Well, yes. Something might. This is the NFL, where the difference between 8-8, which the Falcons were in Quinn’s first season, and leading the Super Bowl by 25 points is not very much. The Falcons have new offensive and defensive coordinators. They needed a new DC. They’ll miss the offensive guy, who apart from the final eight minutes of regulation in Houston, put nary a foot wrong last season. Quinn spoke with gusto – he speaks no other way – as to how much he liked the makeup of this staff, but I’m pretty sure he said the same last year and the year before that.

He wasn’t two minutes into his opening remarks before he trotted out the bromide now stamped on the wall of the entrance hall at Falcons HQ: Iron sharpens iron. Neither he nor Dimitroff brought up the Super Bowl, and the only question about it was couched gently – “the way things ended last year.”

Quinn re: last year: “We discussed what we learned and where we’re at and what we need to do for us to get better.”

This nattering nabob of negativism cannot deny reality: Yes, this is a new season. The Falcons could well be stout, not to mention manly, enough to leave that lost 25-point lead – and the rest of pro ball – in the dust. But reports out of Seattle, whence Quinn came, hold that the strutting Seahawks haven’t yet gotten over the Super Bowl loss in February 2015 to, er, New England, the one that ended with Russell Wilson throwing an interception on the goal line. (Richard Sherman is said to be most displeased, which figures.)

We live in a time of negativity. I like to think I was ahead of the curve, but the level of discourse on social media and cable TV shocks even this jaded observer. I wish Happy Dan and his Brotherhood all the best, but my pragmatic side holds that a team insisting it’s over something doesn’t mean it is.

“I do lead a life of optimism,” Quinn said, and that’s surely a good thing. Even with a stacked roster, these Falcons will be tested in a way few teams have ever been. Maybe no team in the history of ball.

Further reading: The Falcons head to camp trying to get past a loss like no other.

Still further: Pro Football Focus: The Falcons’ roster is the NFL’s best.

Reader Comments 0

18 comments
Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

Speaking of "ball," did anyone ask Happy Dumb, I mean Dan, why he didn't insist on running the "ball" with a 25-point lead in the Superbowl, in which the Bumbling Birds CHOKED?

loel
loel

@Hell Horsey no the falcons, didn't choke,, the coached did.  The players had it won,,,,,just kick the field goal.


TideDawg
TideDawg

Well, let's see! Shannahan lost the Super Bowl for the Falcons because he wouldn't run the ball. I think that's been established. Sarkisian lost the National Championship for Alabama because he wouldn't run the ball. I think that also has been established. So, who did the Falcons hire to replace Shannahan......Steve Sarkisian. I fail to recognize what all of excitement is about the Falcons offense being better with Sarkisian. Looks like they hired a Shannahan clone to me!

bigeasy830
bigeasy830

Dan Quinn should be optimistic, The Falcons will go 13-3 and win the Super Bowl. 

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

All this guy does is find ways to write about the Super Bowl loss, I'm going to keep track of it good or bad for the Falcons. He hasn't got over it yet. Mark Bradley things will be ok after all the Falcons are just trying to win their division.

candlin14
candlin14

I do know this, IF the Falcons won the SB they would be playing this season with a huge weight lifted off their shoulders. Players would be more relaxed, they would let the game come to them. 


After the EPIC choke, all pressure is back on. Its a long season full of ups and downs, but after the Choke of all Chokes, I don't see this team overcoming it. 


I am terrified of another Offensive Coordinator. I think its Ryans 4th one since being drafted. We saw how Ryan played under year 1 of Shanahan. Not great.  Im worried about the O-Line and Chester leaving. I am worried about our D-Line with Babs and Freeney leaving. Why not bring back DF?? The guy makes plays and leads by example.


I hate to be pessimistic ATL, but it took 19 years for the Falcons to get back to the SB since their loss to Denver. When you lose the way you did vs the Patriots, its hard to come back!!!

David McCallum
David McCallum

@candlin14 Go away! that way you don't have to deal with any of this. Feel they way you feel, but save yourself some potential heartache and go away.If you're terrified this bad, why put yourself through what you think could happen to this team. You can't have it both way. 

bigcw
bigcw

I think this superbowl hangover thang is wayyyy overblown. most of todays rosters suffer a lot of turnover from year to year. that is why most teams are limited to 3 and 4 year runs in the playoffs. last year was our first year.we have at least 2 to 3 more years of playoff caliber teams.Also teams that are picked over us? I don't think are better than us. Lets line em up and lets see.

nyctraffic
nyctraffic

I know this 45-year fan won't ever get over it.  That loss was the greatest absurdity in the history of Atlanta sports absurdities.  Only the Atlanta Falcons could not be losing for an entire 60 minutes of a Super Bowl and still not win.

David McCallum
David McCallum

Finish the job!!! Tune out the outside noise that you'll hear all season. Be wary of the all the praise you'll receive from people waiting secretly to jump on you, when or if things are not going well. Let everyone pump up other teams. Remember, the mission is to finish the job!!!

TOJacket
TOJacket

We have a new House...some new players... and a new season. Lets get ready to RUMBLE!!!!...bring on 2017 BIRDS!!!

MichaelDavis1951
MichaelDavis1951

@Harper... Really encouraging but you don't make enough money to buy an ad??  You're either too cheap or you're running a scam.  

DR-Ruh
DR-Ruh

I think the AJC writers have the loss to the Patriots on their minds a lot more than the Falcons do.  The writers are the ones that need to get over it.

David McCallum
David McCallum

@DR-Ruh This is part of how they make money. I understand the way that game is played. 

CallMeStupid
CallMeStupid

There will be no sunny days ahead because the roof is going to stay closed. 

DoubleSubject
DoubleSubject

"He's probably the guy you'd wanting (sic) coaching it." Come on, Mark. Next thing you know you will be using double subjects like those broadcast guys.

David McCallum
David McCallum

@DoubleSubject Believe me, I don't need anyone reminding me of these clowns on NFL Network (with the exception of Peter Shrager) or ESPN, pretending as if they respect the Falcons. I'm not a homer but I don't buy into this national media thing about the Falcons. If the Falcons fall on their collective faces, these are some of the same people who will be ready to pounce on them. Because the Falcons absolutely destroyed Seattle and GB, the national media is reluctant to oversell those teams over the Falcons, so the new darling of the national media is the Giants. Personally, I don't give damn about any of those teams. If the Falcons are who I believe they are, I truly don't give a damn!!!!