Quinn: Todd Gurley “Came In Rock Solid,” Has Chip On Shoulder

Dan Quinn shared his candid thoughts on Todd Gurley, Matt Ryan, COVID-19, and playing NFL games on Saturdays, among other topics

Tiki and Tierney
August 12, 2020 - 5:36 pm

After spending the first five seasons of his career with the Rams, Todd Gurley is coming home – sort of. The former Georgia star signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, and head coach Dan Quinn is excited about Gurley sharing a backfield with Matt Ryan.

“I’ve always been impressed with him, especially down in the red zone,” Quinn said on Tiki & Tierney. “The next three weeks will be about him getting connected, seeing the blocks, how does it all time up, and the offensive line getting to know him as well.”

Gurley, who turned 26 earlier this month, is a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first team All-Pro. Last year, he accounted for 1,000+ yards and 14 touchdowns (12 rushing, two receiving).

“He really came in rock solid,” Quinn said. “You can tell he definitely has a chip on his shoulder. He put work in during the offseason. You can tell when a guy is ready to roll. He’s certainly one in that category.”

Quinn, who arrived in Atlanta in 2015, has been impressed with the whole team, especially after such a long layoff due to COVID-19.

“Two significant things probably took place [over the last few months],” Quinn said. “One, we learned how to teach even better online. Finding ways to do that [is] not the norm for coaches. So much of our teaching is in-person and hands-on. There were definitely things that were good. The second piece that happened is a lot of the players, because we weren’t with them, got together to do a lot of things. When the team came back in, their connections were much stronger than I had anticipated. So I thought that was a good thing. That was maybe one of the silver linings I wasn’t expecting.”

Quinn said that wearing masks will be part of the Falcons’ preparation for the 2020 season.

“It’s one of the cool parts about being on a team: you got my back, and I got yours,” he said. “This is one of the things we’re going to need to do in order to play. That’s what winning looks like for us right now. I’ll take care of your family; you take care of mine. Masks are a part of that for meetings, for working out and for doing the walk-throughs.”

The aforementioned Ryan, meanwhile, enters his 13th season in Atlanta. The 2016 NFL MVP threw for 4,466 yards last season – fifth-most in the league – and 26 touchdowns. The Falcons started the season 1-7 but finished 7-9.

“As a competitor, when you step out on the practice field, you better have your game right or he’s going to let you know – because he’s going to have his right,” Quinn said of Ryan. “Those are the things that always light me up about coaching him and guys like Julio [Jones]. The standard that they set about how they go after things makes a lot of other things fall into place when your very best players are right at the top of it in terms of their humility, their hunger for it and how smart they are about the game. It’s pretty easy to get in line here in Atlanta based on the two of those guys for sure.”

Quinn also shared his thoughts on college football. He is heartbroken for the players and coaches who might not get to participate in the 2020 season and said he is open to the NFL playing games on Saturdays to help fill the football field.

“I’d embrace anything with football, if that’s part of some things that we can do to help,” Quinn said. “I’m hopeful – I really am – that we’re able to have an impact on our country with football making a positive impact. I’m sick for the college guys and the coaches because I know how much they put into it. So for the seasons that get postponed or canceled, I know that hurts. There’s some brokenhearted guys. But I’m hopeful that there’s a spring [season] at the end of this, that we’re able to make it up.”