INDIANAPOLIS – Day 1 of the NFL Scouting Combine is spent with a rotation of press conferences featuring head coaches and general managers from around the league. Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was one of the first to take the podium and meet with the media on Wednesday.
Among the topics covered by Quinn was his relationship with Kyle Shanahan. The San Francisco 49ers new head coach spent the last two seasons as Quinn's offensive coordinator, turning Atlanta into a high-scoring juggernaut.
View photos of current 49ers players at the NFL Scouting Combine.
You've seen the numbers before: 33.8 points per game, 415.8 yards per game, 58 total touchdowns and 17 pass plays of more than 40 yards during the 2016 regular season.
Quinn was very complimentary of his former colleague, detailing what makes Shanahan so unique as an offensive mind.
"They're getting a fantastic coach," Quinn began. "I've said this before, he is one of the few coaches who has a full understanding – run game, offensive line, quarterback play, receiver play. You could put him into any spot on the offense and he'd be able to coach that position. That's a rare trait. There are some guys who are so strong in one area, but he's got a real understanding of how to do the whole thing."
It was reported prior to the Super Bowl LI that Shanahan had informed Quinn of his interest in the 49ers opening. Quinn responded with nothing but words of encouragement.
"I was like, 'Hey man, do it your way,'" Quinn recalled the conversation. "'You've got a great background in different systems – whether it was in Houston, Washington, Cleveland or here. Take those experiences, let it rip in your own way, and you'll do great. I'm here if you need me, but make sure you have a blast. What else would you rather be doing?"
Quinn has since replaced Shanahan with former USC head coach and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
The challenge in Shanahan's new role will be to replicate his success with the Falcons without the likes of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. It will be a process, but the benchmark remains all the same.
"I never like to see anyone leave the staff, but what I can appreciate is a guy taking a risk to say, 'Hey, I want to go and give this a shot and go battle for it,'" Quinn said. "I'm excited for him and the opportunity he has there."