“I just wanted to start by saying I can’t say enough and give gratitude to Dan Quinn and what he’s done for this organization, this city, this town, this team, everybody in our building and what he’s meant to me personally in my life. Talk about a guy who brought me into this game, coached me in college, brought me with him to Atlanta, has meant the world to me. I just wanted to open up by saying that. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.”
On his past 48 hours:
“It’s been a whirlwind of emotions. It’s been a sadness of being fired – friend being fired – your coworkers, your people, all of the guys who you work to win a championship with, you wake up and come to work the next day and you’re the head coach, you have to take over and you have to do different things. You have to find a way to get people directed, get back to the winning ways, direct the efforts, get all of the things that we need to get done the right way to get people together. It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been bittersweet, but at this point now we’re shifting our focus. Now, we’re focused on Minnesota.”
On the players’ reaction to the news that Head Coach Dan Quinn was let go and his message to the team:
“DQ is a beloved figure, just in general in Atlanta, period. By not only just the players but ownership, our staff, everyone in our building, and it’s a sad feeling to see somebody go, especially such a good man that was so invested into all of our careers and what we do every single day. That’s always tough. The guys here though, they’re going to follow their leadership. Right now, I’m put in a leadership position and I have a lot of confidence that they’re willing to follow and are ready to go and I can’t wait to do it.”
On the biggest difference between Dan Quinn and him:
“It goes back to the message, like you just asked about what was the message to the team. The message to the team is that we have to go out and enforce our will on our opponent. We have to go out and we’ve got to score and we’ve got to get the ball back no matter what you’re doing. If you’re on offense, your job is to score. If you’re on defense, it’s to get the ball back. If you’re on the return unit, it’s to score.
If you’re on the coverage unit, it’s to get the ball back. Those things are what we’re going to have to do. The only way you go about getting wins is to force your will on your opponent, whatever it is at that time at that moment. You have to go out and do those things. That’s the biggest difference on what we’re going to be doing and how we’re going to do it.”
On why he thinks the team has started 0-5:
“We struggled for a number of different reasons. It started last year when we found the way to play as a group, to play as a unit. You heard Coach talk about it a lot of coming out and having a collected development to play together. For whatever reason, we haven’t been able to be on the same page and be the same collective unit that we ended at the end of the year. So, now it’s my job to put my hands on those things and get that together and get it going again so we can play altogether and be altogether and get wins together. At the end of the day, we have to find a way to put our foot on people’s throat in games. That’s what’s got to happen.”
On what he needs to do to jumpstart the team:
“I’m so tied into this team, offensively, defensively and special teams-wise, that I’ve got such a good rapport with all of the guys on the team that the first thing you have to do is connect with your leaders. The next thing you have to do is connect your organization – our scouting department, our coaching staff, our ownership – all of those people in the last couple of days, connecting those units in order to go out and win and find a way to win and find the best way to win.
Right now, we’ve got a lot of people in disarray, both on the personnel side, on the coaching side and everybody’s trying to figure out what to do and how we’re going to do it next. So, my number one job right now is to get us all tied together and find out how to go win this next game. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go out and find a way to get this next game won. We have to focus our energy on that and go back to those things and those details. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
On the things he would like to change or do differently moving forward:
“Obviously, it’s always going to be one that you have to talk about when you talk about a guy whose values and core beliefs are so tied in with Dan Quinn. Being the guy that just left and the guy that’s now out of work, but when you look at it and you think about it, the reason Dan Quinn was here was for those values, for those things that he brought to the table that he was able to bring every single day. Our job as coaches is to identify problems.
The players’ jobs are to fix them. Right now, we’re in the business of identifying problems and it starts this week. We have to be able to go out. We have to be able to execute. We have to be able to do better. When you’re in this league, it is a privilege to be a part of a team and there’s no doubt about it. When it’s a privilege to be a part of a team, you have to make it happen, you have to believe it and you have to expect it. The only way to do that is to go out and force my will on my opponent.
My opponent is whatever it is at the time. Right now, it’s finding a way to practice better, finding a way to get to Minnesota, and have a singular focus on winning the next game. That’s what we have to go out and do as a coaching staff. That’s what we have to go out and do as an organization. That’s what we have to go out and do altogether.”