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Dan Quinn has an idea what Falcons need to reach Super Bowl

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn reacts to a defensive stop against the Titans during the second half on the way to a 10-7 victory in a football game on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, in Nashville. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta-Journal Constitution via AP) MARIETTA DAILY OUT, GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT, LOCAL TV OUT (WXIA, WGCL, FOX 5)

AP

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn coached in the last two Super Bowls as a Seahawks assistant, and he’s the only coach to have beaten the Panthers this year.

So you’d think he’d have a decent idea of how to get here.

Via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Quinn said the biggest thing the Falcons need to do is improve defensively if they want to get where their neighbors are this week.

“That’s job No. 1 for us,” Quinn said. “When we get that part of our game right, I think we can compete with anybody. That’s why I’m so excited about it. Because I think there are a lot of weapons that we have.

“I’m ready for us to take [each other] through to another spot. That’s why my optimism is so high about our team and where we can get to.”

Of course, optimism was high when they raced out to a 5-0 start. Then not so much as they lost seven of their next eight.

But even with the uncertain future of wide receiver Roddy White, as long as they roll out Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, there’s a floor on offense they shouldn’t fall through.

“There are a lot of things that we are doing well,” Quinn said. “I was pleased to see offensively where we were at on third downs. I was pleased with the time of possession, but until we get our football right, in terms of our turnover margin and the way we want to ball hawk it and take care of it offensively, we won’t be as good as we can get.”

They did get to 8-8 this season, stopping a streak of two losing seasons. But the Panthers are built for the long haul, with most of their key pieces in place and under contract, so keeping up with them is going to require more than a little improvement in Atlanta.