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New Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn talks about plans to build 'championship environment' in Atlanta
Former Seahawks DC wants to build 'fast and physical' defense
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Former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn listens to a question during a news conference to introducing him as the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday in Flowery Branch, Ga. - photo by John Bazemore | Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH — Dan Quinn is looking to build a defense that plays "fast and physical" and an offense with balance as coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

The former Seattle defensive coordinator was introduced as the team's coach Tuesday, two days after the Seahawks lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

"I can't wait to build a similar championship environment here in Atlanta," Quinn said. "There are all sorts of challenges ahead, lots of hard work to do. I can't wait to get started."

The Seahawks played in Super Bowls in each of Quinn's two seasons and won the championship two years ago. Quinn replaces Mike Smith, who was fired following two straight losing seasons.

The Falcons announced Quinn's hiring Monday.

Quinn's expertise may be defense, but Falcons owner Arthur Blank chose him "to provide leadership in all three phases of the game and add additional leadership in the building of our franchise."

Quinn's coaching staff will include offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Richard Smith.

Shanahan had the same job with the Cleveland Browns last year after four seasons directing the Washington Redskins' offense.

"The way he can attack an offense, he's one of the hardest guys to coach against when you're coaching defense," the 44-year-old Quinn said.

Smith was Denver's linebackers coach the past four years. Quinn will have a prominent role in shaping the defense.

"My kind of guy is somebody who plays fast and physical," Quinn said. "That style starts with effort first. That's where we'll start. There are a number of guys already here who are going to be a part of it."

On offense, Quinn said "for me, the number one thing is balance. ... I've always admired teams that had tough, physical styles."

Quinn's staff also will include Raheem Morris as assistant head coach/defensive passing game coordinator. Keith Armstrong returns as the special teams coordinator. Armstrong interviewed for the head coaching job.

Also retained from the 2014 Falcons staff: defensive line coach Bryan Cox, tight ends coach Wade Harman, wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie, and assistant special teams coach Eric Sutulovich.

Other additions include running backs coach Bobby Turner and offensive assistant Mike LaFleur.

Defense was a big problem as the Falcons were a combined 10-22 the last two years. The Falcons allowed the most total yards and yards passing in the league in 2014.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said he hopes Quinn and his staff can help the defensive players reach their potential.

"I think the idea of allowing this football team and this defense specifically to play fast, to eliminate some of the sort of over-analyzing and let these players be the athletes they can be is going to be very important for us," Dimitroff said.

While all other coaching vacancies were filled, the Falcons had to wait until after the Super Bowl to offer the job to Quinn.

"We felt so strongly he was the best coach that we stayed patient, very patient, through the playoffs and Super Bowl rather than feel compelled to make a quick decision," Blank said.

Blank said he likes Quinn's blend of confidence and humility.

"In two meetings with Dan, he displayed a definitive plan for the football team, and his description of what it will take to win showed a strong confidence yet a strong sense of humility as well," Blank said.

Smith had a 66-46 regular-season record in seven seasons, including two NFC South titles. He had winning seasons in each of his first five years.

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