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Sports

Super Bowl LI: Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn on Second Guesses, Lessons & More

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Super Bowl LI: Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn on Second Guesses, Lessons & More

2017-02-06 17:29:31

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. (Image Source: Robert Seale/Reuters)

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn speaks to the media following Super Bowl LI:

 No doubt that was a tough one for us. That’s a hard one in the locker room. No place to put that one mentally for us. But, I am proud of the fight that these guys have. The brotherhood that this group has built, it’s as strong as I’ve seen, and that part is real. That connection that these guys have, not only with themselves, but with our city, it’s so strong. I love them, they battled. Tonight we came up short.

On decision to throw on third and short.

Well, we thought we’d have a good look based on the personnel that was in the game for them. We trust our guys, so we thought that was the opportunity to let it rip. When it doesn’t go that way then it’s easy to question it. Same thing defensively too. We thought we’d have a chance to get a few off and we did, but ended up needing one or two in the second half and weren’t able to do that.

On if the defense wore down.

Well, I think for sure we ran out of gas some. I don’t know what the time of possession was, I didn’t look at that. But, I can tell you how hard these guys battled for it. We knew it was going to come down to the end for sure, and just at the end for them to have the scores back-to-back, that was the difference for sure.

On if there was a feeling that things were going a wrong direction when New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman made the difficult catch.

I didn’t at that point. Honestly I didn’t until the end of the overtime when I knew they were in field goal range. At that point – I enjoy being in the competitive environments where it’s right on there for it, but I didn’t feel it at that time until they tied it up and we had a chance to stop them on the two-point, then when they got the ball, thought we had a couple of good calls to go get them and they executed terrifically. That’s one of the things that we don’t talk about with them a lot, is the way they can execute. When they got hot, it was hard for us to deal with.

On if things caught up to them and if he would do things differently.

I wouldn’t say it caught up to us. I think at the end, when we go back and watch it tomorrow, for sure, there were things that we could have done different or played differently. That part I’ll look at for sure. I was impressed with how hard the guys fought and battled for it. That’s why we’re hurting so bad right now.

On third downs.

Yeah, we didn’t play well on third down. We had a couple of good stops third down defensively and then offensively I know we didn’t play as well third down. We knew they were going to be a good third-down team, but when we had our opportunities, some we nailed and others we didn’t.

On if he second guesses the decision to throw on third-and-short.

When it doesn’t work, for sure. But, I don’t second guess our play calling or wanting to throw it. Honestly, we’ve got terrific guys. We know how to matchup; we know how to get open. That part of our game is so intact. The connection between (QB) Matt (Ryan) and ‘Ju’ (WR Julio Jones) and the guys--no I don’t.

On the lessons the team can take from this.

It’s hard tonight for the lessons. What I can tell you is you can’t truly be relentless until it’s right there and you’ve got to take it away or you didn’t get it. We are a tough group. A loss like tonight, although it’s difficult, I would like to think that this group, we’re putting our stamp and we’re just getting started to be what we can be.

On Julio Jones making the catch on the sideline and what was going through his head when the offense started moving.

Yeah, well for sure I thought it would end up being a two-score game at that point and then we weren’t able to kick the field goal at the end of that drive. It was a terrific play going up to get it just like he battled. That for sure was a turning point, but we had our chances to stop them on defense, too, but that was my thought when he had it.

On the difference in experience between the two teams on a stage like this.

You know, I think that one could say that regarding the experience, but the only fight that matters is the one you’re in. So, we can’t draw back from experience we didn’t have. What I can tell you is how hard our guys fought. We weren’t caught off guard in terms of what they play and the style, we just didn’t finish like we were capable tonight.

On the interception.

I’d have to go back and look. It wasn’t a totally new coverage for us, but it was different from what we played the first two drives. It wasn’t new to what we play, but it was new in this game. In other words, we played it in previous games.

On if they make that change that quickly within a game.

We do.

On the throw on third-and-short.

Yeah, we were referring to that earlier, it was a fantastic catch and so my initial thought, we’re getting closer here, but having a chance to go score, we knew how good the other side was too, so we wanted to go attack at every opportunity. So, when it didn’t work out, it’s easy to second guess on that.

On the Julian Edelman catch.

The one that we threw the challenge on? Okay, yes. From where I sat, I thought it was worth taking a shot at to see did it hit and honestly in these games, there seems to be some wild plays and wild finishes. When you went back to it, clearly it was a catch, but at the time I thought it was worth the challenge to take a shot. It was such a big play, to go back, but we’ll give him the credit, I mean what a competitor.

On the play call…

I’d have to go back and look at it. My thoughts would be that it was man-to-man, but I don’t know that. I just can’t comment on that specifically right now.

On what he says to his team after loss like this.

Well, I told them it’s tough to find a spot for it, on a night like tonight, but the brotherhood that they have built for one another, it’s as strong as I’ve seen. To know that is inside of them, how tight they can get connected to a team, how hard they can play for one another, of course there’s things to gain from that. There is never going to be a way to get over the loss, but what it does have is some of that toughness that you have to go through, it does make you stronger.

On the factor that hurt the team the most.

The factor, I think, in the second half, just two-point plays and they ended up scoring on those ones. I think that was a real factor. Not only did they score but got the two points as well. So, to me, we thought we had a chance to stop them and we didn’t.

On the team’s intensity.

The guys battled as hard as they can. Certainly not questioning the intensity on either side. Both teams left it out there.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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