Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn emphasized Wednesday that the showdown with the New England Patriots on Sunday night is the next game on the schedule and not a Super Bowl rematch.

Quinn talked all offseason and preseason about putting the 34-28 overtime Super Bowl LI loss to the Patriots — a loss which included blowing a 25-point lead — behind in preparation for the 2017. He continued that approach as the team returned to practice Wednesday.

“Well, for sure, we talked about it,” Quinn told the New England media regarding how to keep the Super Bowl discussion from being a distraction. “The biggest thing to say was you don’t get to replay games, and you don’t get to go replay the Super Bowl. We lost last week, and you don’t get to go replay the Miami game.

“We don’t want to go in the rematch world because we’ve learned our lessons and you don’t get to apply them until you’re back in them again. If we keep looking back in the rear-view (mirror), we’re not going to be where we want to be.”

Dan Quinn

“One of the sayings we have is ‘the only fight that matters is the one you’re in.’ So that’s where our focus is. Even deeper than that, our focus is for us to play at our best. We’re not there yet, so that’s what we’re out chasing. We don’t want to go in the rematch world because we’ve learned our lessons and you don’t get to apply them until you’re back in them again. If we keep looking back in the rear-view (mirror), we’re not going to be where we want to be.”

The Falcons are 3-2 heading into the game against the 4-2 Patriots. Quinn’s team has dropped two games in a row, both at home, against a pair of AFC East opponents: Buffalo and Miami.

Quinn said despite moving forward, the Super Bowl tape certainly has value leading into this week.

“Yeah, for sure, it’s a big part,” Quinn said. “Here’s why: When you face a team for a second time in less than a year, I’m not going to call it a division game, but you almost have more familiarity than you would when you don’t. So you go back to look how did they feature the players in their roles last year, and go back to look at some of the roles for this year.

“The players also have some familiarity with one another. How do I guard this guy? I have to make sure my leverage is right when I tackle this player? In press coverage, this release worked; this one wasn’t as effective. So there is definitely familiarity. We definitely looked back at that game, but also the games from this year too. That’s pretty normal operating procedure when we’re playing a team. We may even go back a year or even two years if the coaching staff is the same to see if there will be some philosophical scheme and plays that they’re really comfortable with.”

The Falcons have new faces who didn’t play in the Super Bowl with two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dontari Poe now a part of the defensive line along with rookies Takkarist McKinley, Duke Riley, and Damontae Kazee. Pro Bowl cornerback Desmond Trufant didn’t play in the Super Bowl after undergoing season-ending pectoral surgery, but he is back and eager to face Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Offensively, the Falcons have a new starting right guard in Wes Schweitzer, who was inactive for every game last season as a rookie. The Falcons also have a new fullback in Derrick Coleman, plus a new primary return man in Andre Roberts.



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