Quinn encourages Falcons to tackle using “strike zone”

For Falcons’ coach Dan Quinn, the two most important parts of tackling are hitting forcefully, but also hitting safely.

On Wednesday, Quinn said he discussed Sunday’s tackling plan for the Kansas City Chiefs and how the players will hit their target on specific players using strike-zone hits.

“Number one from a tackling standpoint we teach strike zone hits and we want to hit absolutely as hard as we can in that strike zone and that’s absolutely what we call a batter in the batters box from the chest all the way down to the knees,” Quinn said. “We are not aiming for the head, and if a player gets lower than that strike zone gets lower. We want to play a really physical style ball and so for us tackling we know we are shoulder based tackling team and we want to hit that strike zone just like you’re throwing fastballs into that catchers’ mitt just as hard as you can.”

Because of safety concerns and fines from the NFL from illegal hits, Quinn makes safe but effective tackling an important part of the Falcons’ game plan during the week.

Against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 13, Falcons’ rookie safety Keanu Neal was fined $24,309 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Eagles’ wide receiver Jordan Matthews.

“We don’t want contact just at the guy we want to hit through the man to the person behind him, but we want to do it safely and we recognize that’s part of it so we try to teach that each week,” Quinn said. “We just try to educate the guys the very best we can to play as physical as we can and we know we want to do it in the parameters of the game. So we can play safely, not just with the opponent, but with ourselves as well.”

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