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What Dan Quinn had to say on Wednesday 

Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say to the media on Wednesday:

Opening Statement:
“Today, what an important start for our process as a team, and that’s really where our focus is. It’s about us, and the things that we want to improve. Even speaking with the team, we spent a lot of time on our own identity as a team, and those are the things that we love about the way that we play. That’s our run game, that’s the play-action that goes with that, that’s playing up on the line defensively, the speed that we play with, creating turnovers. An example of that would be the explosive differential. We limit them defensively and gain them offensively. That’s a big stat for us that we look at along with turnover margin, and we know we’ve got work to do in that spot. We’re really pumped to get rolling. We’re especially excited to get back home to play in front of our fans. I feel like we’ve been out on the road for a while, and there’s nothing like coming back home, the connection the team has with the city, and back with the players to the city. We can’t wait, so we certainly are excited to be back home and get it rocking. We made one transaction on our practice squad. We released [Garrett] Grayson, and we added [Mike] Meyer from a kicking standpoint. Guys from an injury standpoint, Duke Riley is getting closer. He won’t work today. Julio Jones will just participate in the walkthroughs, and Matt Bryant we’ll hold today. We’ll take a look tomorrow or Friday. Past that, glad to open it up to your questions regarding the matchup with Dallas this week.”

On the offense’s struggles with dropped passes and third down situations:
“I think we were excited to see some of the red zone improvement. We’ve worked hard on that part, but certainly the third-down stalls are ones we’re still working to get corrected and get right. That’s an important part of what we do. We like the explosives that we’re gaining both in the run and the pass, but for sure third down is one we’re digging into hard, knowing we’re putting in the work in that spot.”

On Matt Bryant’s status the rest of the week:
“Yes, maybe tomorrow even as well, but we’re going to hold him today for sure. We’re not sure, Thursday or Friday. He normally kicks Wednesday, Friday but we may end up going just Thursday or Thursday, Friday. We’re kind of going day-by-day. We’re definitely going to hold him today, and we’ll have a better sense tomorrow. I can give you a further update if we’ll hold him again tomorrow and wait until Friday. That’s kind of the game plan. It’s a little up in the air until we really access where he’s at for tomorrow.”

On Dak Prescott:
“I would say real mindfulness for the ball [stands out]. He’s been careful with it, took care of it, and doesn’t put the ball into a bad spot where it could create some takeaways. I think the extension of plays has been something I’ve been impressed with his game. When he’s able to get outside the pocket and extend plays, both with his feet and his legs. He seems like a person like Aaron Rodgers on the edge on a third-down play. ‘I see the opening and can take it and run for the first down. I can extend the play and still throw it on the run accurately.’ I’m not comparing the player, but I’m saying the mobility of a player where you can extend plays. I think it’s an important factor and a big part of his game for sure.”

On whether the team is banged up in the secondary:
“We’re not, but we just thought Byron [Maxwell] was one of the guys we really wanted to take a close look at. We wanted to bring him in for a workout, and while we were doing that each couple [of weeks] the pro department is always kind of looking to see who else is there, and if there are any roster tweaks to do to upgrade in any way. We’re always going to look for that, so that’s what we did on Monday.”

On how Maxwell looked and fits in with future plans:
“He certainly looked good, looked fit, looked strong, looked healthy. That part came through really good, and I know he’s anxious to play and get back going.”

On Dallas’ run game staying consistent schematically:
“I don’t think the scheme would change because the style of what they do is pretty clear. Alfred [Morris] and if it would be [Darren] McFadden are certainly backs that have proven themselves in our league. I would say right now they feature one back and I would imagine if he was out they wouldn’t just feature one like they do now. Maybe that would change, but as far as the style of how they run it, I think that would stay consistent.”

On why their run game is successful:
“I think it’s a combination of both [scheme and execution]. The scheme’s not so unusually different, but they’re really performing up front at a high level. The running back is a factor in that too, but like most times when the run game is really going well, it’s a combination of the line playing well and the backs playing well. I think that’s a clear illustration of that with them.”

On Dak Prescott’s ability to run effectively in scoring situations:
“It’s not as much, and you’re exactly right in terms of our disappointment. Cam [Newton] had a big day. We did fine against the running backs, but the quarterback part we didn’t. I would say they’re more traditional in the ways they’ll feature some zone-read plays, some designed keep and maybe not run the quarterback inside, but his ability to get out on the edge. I think that’s pretty common for teams that utilize zone-read, meaning an option on the defensive end. Either I’m going to hand the ball or take it myself outside. Designed quarterback runs inside are a whole different animal when you’re going A-gap and B-gap inside. I would say they’re more traditional in that approach of zone-read for the teams that do that. I’d say maybe a third of the teams, or maybe it’s more than that [with] close to half that do it, as opposed to the teams that get in the gun and hand it off, but aren’t really a threat to run it much like our quarterback. I think that’s the difference where they have that part of their game that they’re able to, so the teams that do utilize that usually use that as an option. If it’s there, I take it. I’ve got grass to run where I’m avoiding the contact, so to speak. Off the top of my head, there are a few that do that. Seattle has, Carolina with how they do that, and others. They utilize that. I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest part of their package, but they have it as part of their package.”

On Dez Bryant’s game:
“I don’t know from the shadow standpoint. That’s not indicative of him. We did probably more of that last year when we lost Desmond Trufant, and then we wanted to make sure Robert Alford was able to go on the matchups that we wanted to feature. One of the things that I really respect and admire about his game is his ability to go up and catch the contested passes. We call it high point, so when the ball is up in the air, he’s really aggressive to go after it. Not just on a normal coverage, but when it’s really up high he can really get up and go catch it. He’s got aggressive hands, and that clearly shows up in the red zone where two guys are going to battle for it playing man-to-man and he really goes after it.”

On Cole Beasley’s ability to get open:
“I wouldn’t say they lose sight of him. He may make them lose sight of him. They really feature him in a way that he’s able to beat some man-to-man coverage because of his quickness. If you have a certain leverage when you’re playing man-to-man, he’s able to break an opposite way to create some separation. That part of his game is really intact where the catch-and-run play can take place for him to make the four-yard play go to 15, earn a first down, and extend a drive. They don’t generally feature him in the long, deep, down-the-field shots. They definitely know where he is, but he does an excellent job of breaking guys off when they’re playing man-to-man, or if it’s a zone, knowing when to stop and sit in the spot of the zone to get the catch.”

On how the Cowboys feature Beasley:
“I wouldn’t say it’s unusual because a lot of teams have [slot players], and then how do you feature that player when you put him into those roles. Our league is full of different matchups all over the place. He’s not the highest targeted player on their team, but he’s one that based on the number of targets, he takes advantage of those opportunities for sure.”

On Derrick Coleman’s play this season:
“The part that we really wanted to count on from him that we looked at prior to him being here was his ability to run and play on special teams. Could he play on punt and could he play on kickoff and do a good job? I don’t know where he is now, but he’s almost near 10 special teams tackles, so that part we’re very pleased with in terms of his ability to make a factor on fourth down as well, or on the kicking game on our kickoff or kickoff return. In the offense, we feature a fullback a good bit of the time not just as a lead blocker, but in pass protection. We’re constantly assessing how to feature him in the very best way for us, but we like the speed that he plays with as fullback. His background as a runner helps him in with the speed that he’s able to play with. His background as a halfback, I should say. I would say the part that we’re most encouraged by is his ability that he’s made a very big impact for us on special teams.”

On the Cowboys playing at a high level recently:
“I would say that’s a correct assessment, and the reason I say that is over the last month I’ve really thought they’ve hit their stride as a ball club offensively [with] their ability to run it, their ability to use play-action with it to extend some drives. When those third-down opportunities that they get pressured on are longer, every rusher likes that. The ability that they’re in lots of twos and threes definitely helps from a quarterback standpoint and from a protection standpoint. We’ve got respect for how they do it. We’ve really made the focus this week about us and how we play. When we do that, the results take care of themselves, but we’ve got work to do on our end to make sure we’re going to play in our identity and our style really, really clearly this weekend. They are playing well over the last month especially.”

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