Dan Quinn's 'total trust' in Marquand Manuel forged over years coaching together

From ESPN - January 11, 2018

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- At this time last year, Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was just over a month into taking over the defensive playcalling from then-defensive coordinator Richard Smith.

There wo not be a such a change this season.

Quinn said defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel is "100 percent in charge of the defensive playcalling and that he has "total trust in Manuel as the sixth-seeded Falcons head into Saturday's divisional matchup with the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons made dramatic defensive improvement this season, finishing in the top 10 in both scoring defense and total defense for the first time since 1998. The Falcons are fresh off holding the league's top-scoring team, the Los Angeles Rams, to 13 points in last week's wild-card win. The Rams averaged almost 30 points per game during the regular season.

Quinn said he and Manuel share a similar mindset when it comes to calling the defense, considering they have worked together with the Seattle Seahawks.

"Yes, Quinn said. "I would say very much [so], and I mean the fact that weve sat next to each other for a number of years now. I guess at least five or six, so were able to communicate quickly about our scheme, our style, the attitude of how we play. That doesnt happen in a months time. Those are things that are built through time, and Ive got great trust in him.

"Hes got a really quick mind. He, on game day, is really quick to adapt and adjust, which is not an easy thing to do. You have to go through those to have that experience, and hes very well-equipped for that. That was evident all the way back from the preseason."

Manuel, 38, was the defensive backs coach/senior defensive assistant for the Falcons the previous two seasons. The former NFL safety was a defensive assistant under Quinn with the Seahawks for two seasons as well as a coaching intern for Quinn at the University of Florida, where Manuel played his college ball. Manuel also learned from Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and good friend and former teammate Kris Richard, currently the Seahawks' defensive coordinator.

So when was the moment Manuel decided he was ready to call plays?


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