In his Fourth Season with the Falcons, Grady Jarrett Insists It’s Only the Beginning

You know what was cool? Quinn said. Back in November, the team got together and said, ‘How do we go from where we are and go make a difference?’ I was proud to be part of this group this spring. We took action on nine different initiatives in the offseason, one a week, that we wanted to take on as a team. And so what we did in the offseason was take on some of the issues that were really important to players.

A lot of that involved the team’s influence and the police side of things, so we dove head-first into those two things with ridealongs, and trips to boys and girls clubs, a lot of things back-and-forth with the police and the community. So that’s really what we decided on as a team.

The program flies soldiers in for games, and Quinn expanded it over the last few years where players would wear decals of soldiers’ initials on their helmets—they needed to get league approval for it—during Salute to Service month. In some cases, those soldiers meet with the players wearing their names while in town on Quinn’s Corps trips.

I knew there could be this natural connection, going for something at the highest level, and the accountability to the person right next to you, through the years they have nailed that in every way, Quinn said. So if we could learn from them, then I thought, ‘How can we apply it to our team?’

Fitzgerald wants the ball in his hands, sure, but he also won’t miss those Sundays when his body sometimes ached so badly he could not lift himself out of bed without help.

A lot less hitting my head up the middle against a wall, Fitzgerald says. You can only take 30 carries a game for so long.

His pre-snap assignments are changing, too. He’ll have less to do, fewer checks at the line, but the secondary reads may become more complicated. It’s as much about coverage identification than it is physically throwing the ball in the place it needs to be, Moorhead says.

Breiner is making what he terms slight changes to Fitzgerald’s mechanics, like opening his front toe more, keeping his upper body closed longer and developing a more consistent arm angle. These should allow his hips to move more freely and, just maybe, increase a career completion percentage (55.4) that falls below Moorhead’s preference. His last four starters, at Penn State and Fordham, have combined to complete about 65% of their passes. I think he’s got a very high ceiling as a passer, Moorhead says. We saw glimpses of that this spring.

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