Quinn knows the recipe for success, but cooking it up in Atlanta might not happen right away

Published 2:54 pm Friday, September 4, 2015

As a long time frustrated Atlanta Falcons fan, I am cautiously optimistic about how they will do in the upcoming season under new head coach Dan Quinn.

Coach Quinn was defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, who defeated the Denver Broncos and lost to the New England Patriots in the last two Super Bowls under head coach Pete Carroll. He has said some things after taking over the Falcons that I like.

“Defense starts with effort first,” Quinn said. “We are going to be aggressive in the way we attack the football and we want to play as fast as we can possibly play,” the new Falcons head coach said.

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Quinn will have a rebuilding job with his new defense this year. The Falcons ranked last in yards allowed per game with 398.3, and they gave up 36.1 points a game last season.

In contrast, Quinn’s Seattle defense, which featured All Pro players like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, first in yards allowed per game with 267.1, first in passing yards allowed per game with 185.6 and points allowed per game with 15.9.

The Falcons obviously need a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball. Some of that help with come from rookie outside linebacker Vic Beasley, the Falcons number one draft choice out of Clemson. He caused a lot of problems for college offenses. With his great speed he constantly put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Offensively the Falcons have quite a few weapons led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who threw for 4,694 yards and 28 touchdowns last season. I feel that wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones are as good a pair of deep receiving threats that you will find in the game.

Two positions of concern offensively are running back and tight end. Veteran running backs Devontae Freen and Anton Smith from Florida State and rookie running back  Tevin Coleman from Indiana have potential but have been hampered by hamstring injuries. Tight end has been a problem for the Falcons since All Pro Tony Gonzalez retired.

Leading the Falcons defensive secondary is cornerback Desmond Trufant, a 2012 first round draft choice who had a strong season a year ago. I look for the Falcons, who will open their season Monday, Sept. 14, at the Georgia Dome against the Eagles on ESPN, to be competitive and maybe win some games they are not supposed to, but I think they will have a difficult time earning a playoff berth.

As a die hard Falcons fan, I hope I am wrong.