Dan Quinn coming 'home' when Falcons face Jets at MetLife
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
Oct. 26, 2017
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — This road game has the feel of a homecoming for Dan Quinn.
The Atlanta Falcons coach grew up about 5 miles away from where the New York Jets' training facility stands.
And the Jersey boy spent plenty of afternoons as a fan at the Meadowlands, the site of the stadium where he'll be coaching Sunday.
"It's always a favorite thing of mine because of growing up there is where my love of football began," Quinn said.
"So watching games, before MetLife, at old Giants Stadium, going there watching games, watching the Giants and the Jets on TV every Sunday and Monday night, so it's always kind of a cool spot for me."
Quinn was a defensive line coach for the Jets in 2007, when the team was based at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The following season, the franchise moved its headquarters to Florham Park, New Jersey — just down the road from the Morristown native's home.
"My wife liked to joke it was like 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' where my brother, the police officer, he lived down the street, another brother was across the street and so it was a lot of fun to be there during that time," Quinn said. "Even growing up, the Giants even had training camp over at Farleigh Dickinson (University), so it was always meant to have a pro team in that area."
The 47-year-old Quinn went to Seattle as an assistant head coach and D-line coach in 2009 before moving to the University of Florida in 2011 to be the Gators' defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. After two seasons there, Quinn rejoined Pete Carroll's staff in Seattle as the Seahawks' defensive coordinator.
He became a hot name in coaching circles, largely because of the success of Seattle's smothering defense.
In 2015, the Jets were looking for a new coach — and Quinn appeared to be a perfect fit. New York was also impressed, however, by then-Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who also interviewed for the vacant Falcons job.
With the Seahawks going to the Super Bowl for the second straight year, the Jets had to decide whether to wait for Quinn's season to be over — without a guarantee that he'd join them. Or, they could immediately go with their equally strong option in Bowles.
Well, the Jets hired Bowles, and Quinn joined Atlanta a few weeks later — leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl last season.
"We were still kind of right in the middle of our stuff, and fortunately we were able to keep playing, so it made it certainly more challenging for anybody the more we were playing," Quinn said. "But, no, things worked out as they should have, and Todd is doing a great job there and I am really happy here."
Here are some things to know about the matchup between the Falcons (3-3) and Jets (3-4) at MetLife Stadium:
AFC EAST GRIND: Atlanta is completing a punishing tour of the AFC East that already has included home losses to Buffalo and Miami and last week's loss at New England.
Meanwhile, the Falcons still have not played an opponent from their NFC South division. They finally play their first division rival next week when they visit Carolina.
Falcons running back Devonta Freeman said the lesson he has learned from the schedule is "every game is going to be like a Super Bowl in this league. It's going to be a grind, every game, in the NFL."
SQUANDERING LEADS: The Jets have had big leads in their past two games against New England and Miami, only to blow them and lose.
New York held a 14-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter at Miami last Sunday, but couldn't stop backup Matt Moore as he led the Dolphins to a 31-28 victory . It echoed the previous week's game, when the Jets jumped out to a 14-0 second-quarter lead, only to see Tom Brady storm back and beat them 24-17 .
"At some point, we've got to develop some killer instinct to finish ballgames," Bowles said.
MISSING TAKEAWAYS: A key to the Falcons' slow start has been their inability to create turnovers. They have only three takeaways: a fumble recovery by cornerback Desmond Trufant and interceptions by Trufant and linebacker Deion Jones.
Adding to the turnover margin frustrations: The Falcons have had three interceptions negated by penalties.
"Certainly disappointing," said Quinn, who added those missed opportunities are missed possessions by Atlanta's offense.
FLYING FALCON: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown for a touchdown in 25 consecutive games, the NFL's longest active streak. He has a good chance of keeping that going Sunday against a Jets defense that ranks 20th against the pass.
Ryan has also passed for 200 or more yards in 61 straight games, the longest streak in league history.
NO JOSHIN': Despite his fourth-quarter interception that cost the Jets the game last week, Josh McCown has been mostly efficient this season.
The 38-year-old veteran QB ranks second in the NFL with a 69.2 percent completion rate. Last week he joined Al Dorow of the 1960 New York Titans as the only players in franchise history with three or more TD passes and at least one TD run in a game.
AP Sports Writer Charles Odum in Flowery Branch, Georgia, contributed.