“We won’t have 1,000 different defenses,” he explained. “What we will do is not necessarily what we play (but) is how we play it. That style will be real clear to come across in terms of the style and the attitude that we play. We’ll try to best feature the players that we have, and that’s one of the real things I’m looking forward to getting started with now is to better learn these guys here, and so we can now best feature them in the best way.”
He’s got to figure out which players he has who he can utilize in his system, and which players would become either cut candidates or potential trade chips. Even before free agency starts, he has some interesting players on the front seven with which to build a solid foundation. As he said, it’s not necessarily what they’ll play — he’s been flexible and very multiple over the past couple seasons — it’s how they’ll play it, fast and physical.
Up front, he’s got Tyson Jackson, Paul Soliai, Re’Shede Hageman and Jonathan Babineaux to work with and those players all offer versatility in 3-4 and 4-3 fronts. Quinn has shown flexibility in moving guys around on the line to use their talents, so Hageman in particular, with a rare combination of size and athleticism, will be a very interesting player to watch in 2015.
Additionally, Johnathan Massaquoi and Malliciah Goodman offer some depth on the strongside edge, so on paper, with the right scheme and coaching, the Falcons seem to have a group up front that can get the run defense back on track.
One of the most interesting cases heading into the draft season is Shaq Thompson. Thompson played a bevy of positions at Washington, including running back, linebacker and safety. Kiper sees Thompson in myriad ways, perhaps helping his draft stock because he appeals to teams with multiple needs.
“Shaq Thompson has the ability a variety of positions, he is a great athlete. … He’s not a pass-rusher though. He could play the WILL linebacker or maybe play as an in-the-box safety like Deone Bucannon played for the Arizona Cardinals last year.”