Falcons coach Dan Quinn, fresh off a recruiting trip to Philadelphia and Youngstown, Ohio, was at Georgia Tech’s Pro Day on Friday.
Quinn, who spent a lot of time with Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof, shared his thoughts on how he plan to used newly signed free agent defensive tackle Dontari Poe, who played 821 defensive snaps last season for the Kansas City Chiefs.
“It’s really about how we feature him the best,” Quinn told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For a long time, he’s played a lot of plays. For a big guy, he’s got the stamina to do that.”
The Falcons are going to let Poe play both defensive tackle spots and not pigeon-hole him as a nose tackle over the center. Quinn doesn’t plan to put him on snap count.
“I want to feature him where we are really are going to try to penetrate and play aggressive,” Quinn said. “We’ll see how it goes as we get into the season. (We want) to just have him at his best the whole time. I didn’t put a number on it, but he’s been accustomed to being able to play a pretty high rep count for a long time. I’m anxious to put him in the group.”
Poe will play alongside Grady Jarrett. Quinn also plans to use free agent Jack Crawford, RaShede Hageman and Courtney Upshaw at defensive tackle.
“I can’t wait to see them all battle,” Quinn said.
The Falcons did a thorough medical check on Poe’s back before making such a hefty investment. He had surgery for a herniated disc in July of 2015.
“The fact that he has been able to do so much since then has been a good sign,” Quinn said. “We are encouraged by that.”
The strength and conditioning staff will manage Poe’s back and may not require him to do certain lifts or squats.
“The thing I’m most encouraged about is his quickness,” Quinn said. “For a big buy, he’s got initial quickness and that’s now always the case. I’m not just going to play him at nose tackle. We are going to call him a defensive tackle… With him, Grady and Crawford, those guys have the ability to penetrate and we’ll line them up over the guards as well.”