The Dan Quinn era has officially began with the Atlanta Falcons, pulling out a 26-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. The mantra of Quinn wanting the team to be “fast and physical” was sure in play, especially defensively. Early returns of the defensive investment for the Falcons appear to be paying dividends, however it is still a long way to go and much improvement could indeed take plays. Here is my “Connect Four” keys to victory for Atlanta.
1. CONCERTED EFFORT TO RUN THE FOOTBALL. There is nothing offensively more physical than to run the football. Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman carried the load in rushing, getting 98 yards on 30 carries. Coleman averaged four yards a carry and continued to keep an Eagle defense honest in checking the run.
2. DEFENSIVE EFFORT WAS INTENSE. This much maligned unit personified what Dan Quinn and Defensive Coordinator Richard Smith required. The front seven for the “Dirty Birds” continually pressured Quarterback Sam Bradford and stifled the running game for the Philadelphia Eagles, especially in the 1st half. During the 3rd Quarter, the defense did give up some plays, but it spoke more to the inability of the offensive to sustain drives more than defensive inability.
3. OFFENSIVE LINE CONTINUITY. The talk of the week was about the offensive line and how would they gel facing the Eagles’ front four who is very formidable. To everyone’s surprise the offensive line kept Quarterback Matt Ryan upright for the most part and opened up lanes in the running game. This is especially promising because not only were they changing personnel but also changing systems which heavily rely on continuity in the “Zone Blocking” Scheme.
4. JULIO FREAKING JONES!! 9 catches..141 yards..2 touchdowns….Enough said!!
Overall it was a great effort as a starting point for the Atlanta Falcons. The offense must grow in this new Kyle Shanahan system, finding their niche and cutting the turnovers as it is a direct correlation to what the defense will be able to do. It was a good start in PRIMETIME and hopefully it is just one victory of many for Atlanta.
Jamie Walker is a Producer and Blogger for Sports Radio 92.9 The Game. You can follow him on Twitter @coachjdub21 or contact him through email at Jamie.Walker@cbsradio.com.