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January 29, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Dan Quinn: “We’re at our best when we’re really attacking at the line of scrimmage”

And here’s some of what Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had to say today about being in the mix for the head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns, defending Peyton Manning, and more:

(on rumors that the Browns head coaching job wasn’t appealing to him) “I didn’t feel that way at all. Once you got a real sense for how important football is in Ohio, I didn’t sense that at all. I definitely felt like they were totally committed to building a contending and winning team for a long time. I think there’s a little bit of speculation there, but I certainly thought that it was a terrific job.”

(on linebackers K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner) “I’m glad you brought those two up specifically. They’re not ones that we talk about at length, but their key is their speed. That really sets them apart when you feel them out. You can feel how fast these guys can close. As far as when we play our three-deep, those are our two hook players. They have great indicators prior to the snap, but I think what really sets them apart is their ability to read the quarterback and then really break on the ball. Those are things that jump out to me most about them.”

(on the “Leo” position) “Our ‘Leo’ is what we generally describe as more of an open-side end. He’s a pass rusher most of the time, but has the ability as an athlete to drop. Really the things we look for in that position are speed and length. We want a guy that can really get off the football and jump, so those are the things that we look for in that spot. For us, it’s a pass rusher first who has the ability to drop and play the flat or play in coverage at times.”

(on if DL Bruce Irvin typically plays the “Leo”) “He certainly has played that, and he will play that some this week. It’s been Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons, so we feature a number of different guys in that role. You can never have enough pass rushers to finish the game. That’s something I really, strongly believe in. A lot of those guys have been featured in that role for us this year.”

(on managing the snap count on the defensive linemen) “Everybody is (contributing), and that is really the draw of why we felt like we could be at our best the whole time. Each and every guy is rotating all the way throughout. So when we get a chance to finish at the end of the game, we’re really at our best.”

(on defending Denver RB Knowshon Moreno) “They certainly do (have a lot on their plate). That’s one player that we pay a lot of attention to in our preparation. They are a committed rushing team, as explosive as they are offensively. When you look at the number of rush attempts each game, they’re really a balanced and committed team in that way. We have a lot of regard and respect for them in terms of the way they stick to it.”

(on his defensive philosophies and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll) “Really, Coach Carroll has had a huge impact on me, in terms of the style and attitude of how to really feature the players and do what they do best. That was one of the things that he’s really jawing out at me. The toughness, the ability the finish, I think all defensive coaches talk in that way. For me, the ability to have those featured players and how to utilize them is what really came through Coach Carroll.”

(on if he had to choose to stop Denver rushing or passing) “Both. They’re a terrific passing team, so for us, it’s really all part of our entire defense. You’re not going to pin me down on that one.”

(on interviewing for head coaching positions) “It was a terrific opportunity. I certainly enjoyed both experiences that I had with (Cleveland). It wasn’t the right time for us, but going through the whole process, I really enjoyed it. I made some great connections with (Cleveland and Minnesota). You can tell they had a real conviction with how they wanted to go about it.”

(on defending Denver) “It’s really a balance for us. We know they do a lot at the line of scrimmage and our challenge for our own players is to make sure we take care of us first and our assignment. The term we use is, ‘Let’s make sure we have our cleats in the grass and ready to attack and play,’ because that’s really our style. One of the things that we talk about is that we make sure in terms of how we play and our approach. That’s something that we’ve stayed consistent with all year. We certainly have high regard for the opponent. We spend a lot of time (dedicated) to how we play and style.”

(on Denver quarterback Peyton Manning’s ability to audible) “The more (research) that we do, the more I feel like we slowed down the game. We’re at our best when we’re really attacking at the line of scrimmage. That’s when we’re at our best and that’s where we’d like to get to.”

(on how the defense fits in with the salary cap) “That’s the fortunate thing for me with (Seahawks general manager) John (Schneider). He can handle those kinds of things. The nice part about working here is that we have a real style about how we want to play and they know the kinds of players to bring in, to feature those players, whether it’s through the draft or through free agency. One of the most important things for us is developing our players. The guys who are here, how far can we take them? That’s one of the things that you have a lot of pride as a coach to say, ‘Let’s not worry about where they were drafted or how they got here. How far can we take them?’ I think that’s one of the real things that we stress, in the competition here. It really doesn’t have a big bearing with, ‘You were a first-round pick. You’re going to play right now.’ It’s more the fact that you come here and compete and see what you can do. That’s one thing that we really take a lot of pride in.”

(on a prototypical defensive player in their scheme) “I think that they’re different with positions. In the secondary, and especially at corner, we like guys with speed and length who can get their hands on the guy. We generally gravitated to the players who fit that profile. As a pass rusher, it’s kind of the same thing. We want a guy with speed and length, who can get off the ball and hit the QB. For us, it really depends on the position, but we have some parameters that we like. There are other guys that can just totally play. You can’t just say, ‘These guys don’t fit the profile.’ There are other guys who may be shorter or taller, or what have you, but they know how to play football. They can’t discount that too.”

(on the key to developing younger players) “I think just the consistency in their technique. That’s our job as coaches, to see how fast we can get them to really have a consistent approach to how they play. That’s one of the things that you really enjoy as a coach, to say, ‘How can we keep being consistent with these players and have them be at their best?’”

(on safety Earl Thomas) “One of the things that I regard in quarterbacks, a lot, is that mental quickness. They know where to go with the ball or they know what to do in a certain situation. I think as a defensive player, he’s totally put the time in to put himself into that position, based on a formation, a split or an alert. I’ve said it before, when he was first here in the offseason, I would walk down the hall and there would be a light in the DB meeting room. I generally had a sense of who was in there, probably watching tape. It was Earl. You can feel that drive from him, the constant film study, that he really wants to attack it and be as good as he can be. That’s one of the things I admire most about him. He’s fast, he has a great skill set, but really, there’s this other side of him from off the field that he wants to be great. He really works at it hard.”

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