Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn: We will be a finishing team


Following the Atlanta Falcons’ 13-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins in the third week of preseason, head coach Dan Quinn made a big letters promise.

“The finish that was the hardest part for us,” Quinn said. “But I want you to understand this: we’ll be a team that finishes.”

Down by four points with 1:36 left in the fourth quarter, the Falcons had the football on the Miami 20-yard line. On third-and-1, Jerome Smith ran for two yards on what seemed like an easy first down pickup. But replays showed he had fumbled, and the ball was recovered by the Dolphins. Miami kneeled out; game over.

The result doesn’t matter of the game doesn’t matter, but the performances do. Offensively, the Falcons struggled to maintain the high level of performance we saw in the first two preseason contests. The offensive line struggled in pass protection and in run blocking.

“From the offensive side, a little bit inconsistent in terms of protection and the run game,” Quinn said. “A penalty threw us back one time, TFL threw us back one time.”

Rookie running back Tevin Coleman made his debut, but made just two yards from his four carries. The Falcons’ ground game has been problematic all preseason, but how concerning is it?

“Sure, it’s a really important part of what we want to do. I wouldn’t say concerned is the word, but it’s a real emphasis for us in terms of the style and attitude of the way we want to play. For us to win at the end of games, we will have to run and finish it.”

RELATED: What we learned from Falcons loss to Dolphins

Defensively, there was much more to smile about. Up against a talented Miami offense, Atlanta allowed just 13 points and were able to generate plenty of pass rush. Eighth overall pick Vic Beasley once again looked good, but it was free agent acquisitions O’Brien Schofield and Adrian Clayborn who stole the show.

“Defensively I thought on third down we made real improvement,” Quinn said. “I certainly liked the style I’m seeing from [Adrian] Clayborn again. I think he’s got real unique qualities inside.

“I was pleased at the end of the half, Schofield and Clayborn has back-to-back sacks.”

The combination of Clayborn and Beasley on the right side gives plenty to be excited about, and the duo have been impressive in preseason. Beasley has star potential and Clayborn looks the real deal rushing the passer.

Preseason wraps up next week, but first the Falcons must deal with a short week before hosting the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. Quinn thinks the quick turnaround of games will help the team prepare for the challenges of the regular season.

“Honestly I look forward to it. It’s another chance for our team to go through a different style. We have the same approach how we go about our business, whether it’s a short week, long week, bye week, Thursday night games, Monday night games.”

There are plenty of positives to take from Miami, but also plenty the Falcons need to fix before real games begin in two weeks time. For more reaction to the Dolphins loss, stay tuned to Blogging Dirty.

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