Forget Vic Beasley. And you can forget Tevin Coleman, Adrian Clayborn, Jalen Collins, Brooks Reed, Justin Hardy, and Leonard Hankerson, too.
Just forget any of the new faces the Falcons brought in during an off-season of drastic change.READ MORE: Atlanta School Renamed For Baseball Legend Hank Aaron
When it comes to the import who will have the biggest impact on the team this season, it will be the man who’s responsible for bringing them all to Atlanta.
“Come all without, come all within. You’ll not see nothing like The Mighty Quinn”
When Bob Dylan wrote those words in 1967, Dan Quinn was still three years away from being born. But the subject of the song – the arrival of The Mighty Quinn, an Eskimo who changes despair into joy and chaos into calm – fits the script that all Falcons fans hope plays out with the arrival of Quinn the Seahawk in Atlanta.
So much of what has transpired in the six months that the new Falcons head coach has been on the job reflects what was done in Seattle. The mindset, the system, and the type of players Dan Quinn has recruited to play for him in his inaugural turn as a head coach in the NFL. All of it oozes what’s been at the heart of the two-time defending NFC champion Seahawks accomplishments – a competitive template of effort and aggression.
Whatever it is that Quinn seeks to do in replicating those performances and achievements will be no easy task, of course. After all, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner and Kam Chancellor didn’t make the trip with him from the Great Northwest to the Deep South.
But Quinn’s situation seems so similar to that of another Atlanta head coach who also arrived in town having been an integral thread of a championship winning fabric in another city.READ MORE: Atlanta Public Schools Celebrates All-Time High Graduation Rate
Mike Budenholzer, too, had never previously been a head coach when he left San Antonio and brought the Spurs way of doing things to the Hawks. And while Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker remained in the River City, Coach Bud brought with him – and closely followed – the blueprint for success drawn out by his mentor Greg Popovich.
And to date, the design has worked out rather nicely for the once-upon-a-time ago woebegone Birds.
Budenholzer’s ability to oversee such a quick and positive results-oriented turnaround by no means guarantees that Quinn will be able to match him. But when you closely compare the situations, the seeds are certainly there.
The Hawks team that Coach Bud took over was far from downtrodden. Rather, it was one that had some talent, and just required a new way of thinking and an injection of energy and passion. The Falcons squad that Dan Quinn inherits very much displays the same possessions and needs.
Also consider the world in which the Hawks lived in in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Other than a few select premier teams, the rest of them consisted of either .500 records or worse. The relative sorry state of the conference helped open the door for Bud to take his Hawks through it. And when you look at the weakened state of the NFC South as a whole, the opportunity for Quinn’s Falcons to soar to a division title is much more than just a possibility. After all, as bad as they were in 2014, the Falcons nearly did it.
And something that Budenholzer couldn’t rely on but Quinn can is the fact that the NFL is the league where fortunes from one season to the next can shift drastically — both up AND down the scale. There’s a fine line between good and bad in the NFL. And as ruinous as things appeared to be last season, that’s how close they also were to being respectable.
Do we eagerly anticipate watching Beasley destroy opposing quarterbacks, or Coleman breaking away for long touchdown runs? Yes, and yes. But don’t lose sight of who it all starts and finishes with.MORE NEWS: Georgia Expands CAPS Child Care Program To Add 10,000 More Children
The man Bob Dylan prematurely dubbed The Mighty Quinn.