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Dan Quinn: Falcons' D will 'recapture' physical style

One under-the-radar storyline surrounding the Atlanta Falcons as we soar toward training camp is head coach Dan Quinn taking full control of his defense this season.

After firing his coordinator last year, along with a complete staff overhaul, Quinn is taking charge, getting back to his roots as a defensive play-caller and hopes that the recalibrations made this offseason conjure a more physical style.

"More than anything the tweaks in the scheme along with the tweaks in the style to make sure we recapture that, I'm going to make sure the things are the most important stay at the front of our thinking and the physicality and the ball-hawking will certainly be some of those," Quinn said this offseason, via the team's official website.

A coach taking over play-calling duties could be viewed as the last arrow in a quiver that is quickly emptying. Or, it could prove a stroke of genius that gets the Falcons back to the playoffs. Atlanta hired Quinn for his leadership, but also because he was able to help guide some of the stingiest, toughest defenses in the modern era during his stint in Seattle.

For years, the Falcons have attempted to replicate those Seahawks teams but always came up short. With Quinn taking over, and more physical personnel, might the stars finally align in Atlanta?

Staying healthy is key. Keanu Neal's Week 1 ACL tear last season ripped the heart of the back end. Deion Jones played just six games. Both will be back in 2019. The Falcons also moved safety Damontae Kazee to nickel cornerback to get his physicality on the field alongside Neal and Ricardo Allen.

Quinn mentioned Neal's return as well as other additions to a disappointing defensive front when mentioning why he thinks the Falcons can be a physical defense in 2019.

"Keke brings a lot of that," Quinn said. "He's one of the ring leaders of our style. Putting Kazee by the line of scrimmage will do that, his fearlessness will be a part of that. Adding Adrian Clayborn and Tyeler (Davison) and his toughness those are small tweaks that are going to pay good dividends."

If those tweaks prove not to pay dividends, louder questions will arise as to whether Quinn can ever remake those physical defenses he presided over in Seattle.

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