Atlanta Falcons: Grading the defense at Falcons bye week

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November 8, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn (left) high-fives outside linebacker Brooks Reed (56, right) during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi


Weeks 1-4: A
Weeks 5-9: B
Overall: A-

Overall, you have to be pleased with what Dan Quinn and his staff have achieved in Atlanta. The transformation of this defense was never going to happen overnight, and what Quinn has already been able to accomplish is remarkable.

Last season, the Falcons defense was No. 32 overall, No. 32 against the pass and No. 21 against the run. Through nine weeks this season, it is No. 10 overall, No. 19 against the pass and No. 2 against the run. That’s an incredible turnaround. There’s a long way to go, but Quinn deserves a ton of credit for what he’s started on the defensive side of the football.

How’s he achieved this? Well, some personnel changes have helped. The additions made in free agency and the draft have gone a long way, but the belief he has given these players has been evident on the field. Particularly early on in the season, we saw the defense swarming to the football and making plays. There is a lot of work still to be done, but so far so good for Quinn and his staff.

Outlook: There is no doubt in my mind Dan Quinn is the man to lead the Atlanta Falcons into the future. The change of culture on defense has been impressive, and it’s exciting to think what he can do with improved personnel over the next few years. For the remainder of the season, the Falcons must keep up the intensity a solid defense.

Next: Defensive line