Dan Quinn

Falcons coach Quinn: 49ers' offense, defense in good hands

Falcons coach Quinn: 49ers' offense, defense in good hands

INDIANAPOLIS – Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn believes the 49ers’ offense and defense have capable people charge.

Quinn, speaking Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, has worked on the same staffs with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who will run the team’s offense, and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

Saleh, who served as Jacksonville’s linebackers coach the past three season, spent one season on the Seattle staff when Quinn was defensive coordinator.

“He has a really good and rock-solid understanding of the principles of playing three-deep and man-to-man,” Quinn said of Saleh. “He’s an excellent teacher. And, I think, as a coordinator that’s a really important thing, especially when you’re first putting the whole thing together so everyone has a real clear understanding and they’re all on the same page. So I think he’ll do a fantastic job.”

Shanahan did not hire an assistant to serve under the title of offensive coordinator. Instead, he will assume those duties with the 49ers while also overseeing the entire operation as head coach. Shanahan has been an NFL offensive coordinator for eight seasons, including the past two under Quinn with the Falcons.

“He is one of the few coaches who has a full understanding – run game, offensive line, quarterback play, receiver play,” Quinn said of Shanahan. “You could put him into any spot on the offense, and he’ll be able to coach that position. That’s a rare trait. There are some guys who are sto strong in one area. It might be in the run game or so strong in the pass game. But he has a really clear understanding how to do the whole thing.

“I never like to see anybody leave the staff, but what I can appreciate is a guy taking a risk to say, ‘Hey, I want to give this a shot and go battle for it.’ So I’m excited for him and the opportunity he has there.”

Falcons coach Dan Quinn shares past experience with Kyle Shanahan

Falcons coach Dan Quinn shares past experience with Kyle Shanahan

Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn went through two years ago what his offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is experiencing now.

Quinn, who was the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator at the time, was the presumptive next coach of the Falcons while he prepared to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.

One day after the Seahawks’ 28-24 loss to the Patriots, Quinn was announced as Falcons head coach.

The 49ers are expected to formally make an offer to Shanahan after the Falcons’ season is over, and Shanahan is “almost certain” to accept, the NFL Network reported. Atlanta plays host to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.

“I definitely have shared insight with him as he was going through the process for him,” Quinn said of Shanahan on Wednesday during a press conference.

But Quinn referred all other questions about Shanahan’s likely hiring as the next 49ers coach to the Bay Area. The 49ers will be able to hold a second interview with Shanahan next week, regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game. The 49ers’ first interview with Shanahan was Jan. 5. He was allowed to interview the first time because the Falcons were on the playoff bye week as the NFC’s No. 2 seed.

“I know it’s for sure out there, (but it’s) definitely not our story to tell,” Quinn said. “They (the 49ers) will for sure reach out to (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) and to the organization and there will be a window for them if they’d like to visit with him for next week. But that’s really where it’s at, and there’s nothing left to do until then.

“That’s the way it’s designed from the league. You have your window and then that one closes for a while, and then there’s another one and you’re able to talk. From there, that’s why you’re able to lock back in and do what we’re doing. That’s where I am with that.”

Inspired by 49ers experience, Quinn's Falcons grow into brotherhood

Inspired by 49ers experience, Quinn's Falcons grow into brotherhood

SANTA CLARA – The Atlanta Falcons went 8-8 in Dan Quinn’s first season as head coach.

But he felt something was missing, in addition to the necessary number of victories to qualify for the NFC playoffs.

“I’d say, honestly, we were a neighborhood and now we’re a brotherhood,” Quinn said Wednesday in a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“I was so wanting that connection to happen as a team. Most of the good teams I’ve been a part of had this really close connection. Last year, we never got to that spot.”

Quinn spent his first two NFL seasons on Steve Mariucci’s staff with the 49ers as quality control coach in 2001 and ‘02. Dennis Erickson retained Quinn as defensive line coach for two seasons.

“This offseason we worked hard at that to make sure the players had an accountability to one another,” Quinn said. “That started for me way back, from my first time with the Niners and having Bill (Walsh) and Mooch talk about the 49er way, and the standard of doing things.”

The Falcons (8-5) are tied atop the NFC South standings with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with three games remaining. Atlanta can take another step closer to the playoffs on Sunday against the 49ers (1-12) at the Georgia Dome.

Quinn, who interviewed for the 49ers’ head-coaching vacancy in January 2015 to replace Jim Harbaugh, said his vision for building a franchise was also greatly influenced by his time on Pete Carroll’s staff with the Seattle Seahawks, where he served as defensive coordinator.

“It left such an impression on me when I got to Seattle, Pete had that way,” Quinn said. “He didn’t call it the 49er way, but it was a real standard of how we wanted to do things and making that place feel special. And that’s what I wanted to create here.

“I never wanted to make it Seattle East or another Niner spot. I wanted it to be our team and all the things that could make us tough as hell, physical. I wanted that connection as a team to take place.”

Quinn took a week off from the typical offseason workout program to take participate in a program with Acumen Performance Group, a company started by a group of retired Navy SEALs. The idea was to help build team unity and chemistry while overcoming various physical and mental challenges. The training took place at the Falcons' practice facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia. (An earlier version of this article incorrect stated the training was in San Diego.)

On Dec. 4, the Falcons experienced one of the worst losses in the NFL when a two-point conversion attempt was intercepted and returned for two points the other way to lift the Kansas City Chiefs to an improbable victory.

Last week, the Falcons bounced back with a 42-14 victory at the Los Angeles Rams.

“We’re quite a bit different than last year,” Quinn said. “We’ve added players, but we’re different in our mindset. We’re more resilient. I’d say we’ve gone through some of the difficult ones you go through, losses and those things, and you better grow from them or they’re going to eat at you.”