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Dan Quinn named Atlanta Falcons head coach

Quinn will be tasked with turning around a Falcons defense that finished last in the NFL in 2014.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Update: The Falcons made the move official on Monday, announcing Quinn as their new head coach.


The Atlanta Falcons are expected to name Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their next head coach the day after the Super Bowl, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Per league rules, Quinn cannot be offered the job officially until Monday, Feb. 2 because he's still under contract with the Seahawks, who are set to play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 49.

Quinn will replace another defensive-minded coach, Mike Smith, who was fired after seven seasons in Atlanta. The Falcons finished 6-10 in 2014, the second straight season they've missed the playoffs.

Quinn's biggest challenge in getting the Falcons back to the postseason will come on the defensive side of the ball. Atlanta ended the regular season with a top-10 offense, but the defense struggled all year long. The Falcons finished at the bottom of the league in total defense, giving up nearly 400 yards per game, and were also the worst at defending the pass. Fortunately for his new team, Quinn has had plenty of success in both areas with Seattle and will continue to call defensive plays in Atlanta.

The 44-year-old took over as the defensive coordinator of the Seahawks in 2013 after Gus Bradley left to become the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In each of Quinn's two seasons at the helm, the Seattle defense allowed the fewest total yards, passing yards and points per game. The Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII on the back of their dominant defense and shutdown "Legion of Boom" secondary, and then used the same formula to make it to the Super Bowl this season.

Quinn's second trip to the Super Bowl only boosted his value for the Falcons, who have been very patient in order to get their man. The Falcons interviewed Quinn multiple times, including the day after the Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship.

Washington defensive backs coach Raheem Morris will reunite with Quinn in Atlanta, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post. Morris will interview with the Falcons this week for the hybrid position of assistant coach/defensive coordinator. Morris played under Quinn at Hofstra, where Quinn was the defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator from 1996-2000, and later Morris served as his defensive backs coach from 2000-01.

Prior to his stint with Seattle, Quinn was the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida. In the NFL, he's been the defensive line coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Seahawks. This will be his first head coaching job.