Dan Quinn spoke to the media on Tuesday and gave us a better look at what to expect from a player personnel standpoint on his defense – which finished 28th in the league last season. Although, the Falcons did suffer an onslaught of injuries, beginning with Keanu Neal and Deion Jones hitting Injured-Reserve after the first week of the season.
For starters, Quinn said he is “hopeful” all players who suffered season-ending injuries a year ago will be back healthy for training camp.
Dan Quinn remains hopeful everyone who ended the year on IR will be back for training camp. Some will be available in some capacity during the spring.
— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) March 26, 2019
Beyond Neal and Jones, those players include Devonta Freeman, Ricardo Allen, and Brandon Fusco.
As far as the draft, Quinn acknowledged defense as the focal point, citing defensive end, cornerback, and strong safety as three positions of concern heading into April.
It’s a bit shocking he did not include defensive tackle in that list of needs, but that could be because of Jack Crawford‘s standout 2018. Crawford moved inside to play a lot of tackle last year and broke out next to Grady Jarrett, racking up six sacks, seven tackles for loss and nine QB hits. Unsurprisingly, Quinn views Crawford as a critical piece to the Falcons’ defense and expects even more from him in 2019.
A conversation with the Falcons’ coach cannot go on without discussing the baffling career of Vic Beasley, who has often underperformed in an Atlanta uniform. On Beasley, Quinn said they are going to “work like hell” to get him back to his 2016 form. He also said they would change up how they use Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley defensively.
Finally, Quinn spoke on the secondary, saying he does expect Isaiah Oliver – the Falcons second-round pick last year – to start across from Desmond Trufant at corner. With Ricardo Allen returning from injury, the plan is to allow Damontae Kazee to occupy the slot-corner role that Brian Poole played a year ago. However, cornerback will be a position that the Falcons look to add depth through the draft.