Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn doesn’t like it one bit. But Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks is all about him.
In a game with plenty of good storylines – Russell Wilson vs. Matt Ryan at quarterback, a likely matchup of Julio Jones and Richard Sherman and the return home of Atlanta cornerback Desmond Trufant, a native of Tacoma – Quinn is easily the biggest story of all.
He’s returning to a place where he had such enormous success that he landed the Atlanta job. He had great times in Seattle and still has plenty of friends there. But no matter how many times Quinn was asked by reporters this week about the homecoming, he did his best to avoid the topic
“My biggest focus this week is I just want it to be about the guys,’’ Quinn said “I am uncomfortable talking about myself regarding the game. I want it to be about the guys. A very (big) impact for me, for sure. But I do want the game to be about the Falcons and the ‘Hawks and just a good battle of good teams.’’
There is no doubt will be all those things Quinn wants. But all that may be overshadowed by what he doesn’t want to be the focus of the game.
How could this game not be about Quinn? He remains hugely popular in Seattle. That’s more than understandable because Quinn helped the Seahawks win a Super Bowl. His defense was ranked No. 1 in the league in 2013 and 2014 as Seattle made back-to-back performances. Fans remember things like that.
As close as Quinn would come to talking about himself or his time in Seattle, was when the question turned to what he learned from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll:
“I get the question, I know it’s going to come up a bunch this week,’’ Quinn said. “Honestly, I’d be crazy not to learn a lot from coach Carroll. But this week, I feel a bit uncomfortable talking about me. I just so want it to be about our guys, the team.’’
At one point, though, Quinn broke from the company line and praised the entire Seattle organization. He’s smart enough to know his success in Seattle is the reason he landed the Atlanta job.
“I do understand the story,’’ Quinn said. “Yeah, I learned a great deal. I’ve got a lot of gratitude for the front office men there, associates there, players there. They’re a big reason why I get to wear the Falcons logo every day, because of a lot of those guys.’’
Carroll was asked about the success his former assistant is having.
“I don’t know about pride, but it’s exciting to see,’’ Carroll said. “He’s having fun. He’s working hard. He has a team with an attitude and a personality. They had a great start last year and they battled back and finished well at the end, and they’re off flying again. They seem to be really utilizing their talent well and the people they picked up. They’re doing a lot of really good things. It’s really exciting to see, but I’m not going to get caught up in the pride thing right now. We need to go play them.’’
That’s Quinn’s bottom line as well. But maybe when Quinn first walks onto the field, he can look around for a minute or two and reflect on all the good things that happened to him in Seattle.