Quinn has led Seattle to record-setting defense

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RENTON, Wash. (AP) -- Almost every day during training camp and often during the season, Dan Quinn would put on large padded gloves and essentially go through a sparring session with the Seattle Seahawks defensive linemen as they warmed up for practice working on pass rushing techniques.

Once Quinn got into the position of being a defensive coordinator - after years of working as a position coach - he was not going to become someone who watched and coached from afar.

"This is a people business. We love the Xs and Os but the Jimmys and the Joes are what make this thing go," Seattle defensive backs coach Kris Richard said. "His ability to capture people and make them feel exactly what they are. You have worth. You have value. So he values you, which is awesome."

Take a look through Seattle's remarkable run to the Super Bowl:

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2014 Seahawks Season
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Quinn has led Seattle to record-setting defense

Week 1: Seahawks vs Packers, 36-16 win
Record: 1-0

In this Sept. 4, 2014, file photo, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) begins pass coverage against the Green Bay Packers in the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle. After they opened the 2014 NFL season in early September, it seemed inevitable that Aaron Rodgers would get a second chance to throw at Richard Sherman if he wanted to.

Photo Credit: Stephen Brashear, AP Photo

Week 2: Seahawks at Chargers, 30-21 loss
​Record: 1-1

Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor, right, dives for San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in San Diego.

Photo Credit: Gregory Bull, AP Photo

Week 3: Seahawks vs Broncos, 26-20 win
​Record: 2-1

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) rushes as Denver Broncos' Kayvon Webster defends in overtime in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 26-20.

Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson, AP Photo

Week 4: Bye Week
​Record: 2-1

Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks adjusts his helmet against the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field on September 21, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

Photo Credit: Jeff Gross, Getty Images

Week 5: Seahawks at Redskins, 27-17 win
​Record: 3-1

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) breaks a tackle by Washington Redskins inside linebacker Perry Riley (56) on his way to a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Monday, Oct. 6, 2014.

Photo Credit: Nick Wass, AP Photo

Week 6: Seahawks vs Cowboys, 30-23 loss
​Record: 3-2

Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, right, powers through a tackle by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman to score a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Seattle.

Photo Credit: Scott Eklund, AP Photo

Week 7: Seahawks at Rams, 28-26 loss
​Record: 3-3

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, left, is tackled by St. Louis Rams free safety Rodney McLeod after catching a pass for a 49-yard gain during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in St. Louis.

Photo Credit: L.G. Patterson, AP Photo

Week 8: Seahawks at Panthers, 13-9 win
​Record: 4-3

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) heads to the turf as Carolina Panthers defensive back Colin Jones (42) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in Charlotte.

Photo Credit: Mike McCarn, AP Photo

Week 9: Seahawks vs Raiders, 30-24 win
​Record: 5-3

Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks defends against Kenbrell Thompkins #85 of the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

Photo Credit: Otto Greule Jr, Getty Images

Week 10: Seahawks vs Giants, 38-17 win
​Record: 6-3

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) gets ready to push off of New York Giants' Quintin Demps during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 38-17.

Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson, AP Photo

Week 11: Seahawks at Chiefs, 24-20 loss
​Record: 6-4

Kansas City Chiefs running back De'Anthony Thomas (13) is tripped up by Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas (29) in the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014.

Photo Credit: Charlie Neibergall, AP Photo

Week 12: Seahawks vs Cardinals, 19-3 win
Record: 7-4

Quarterback Drew Stanton #5 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 23, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 19-3.

Photo Credit: Otto Greule Jr, Getty Images

Week 13: Seahawks at 49ers, 19-3 win
​Record: 8-4

Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks escapes the reach of defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie #63 of the San Francisco 49ers late in the fourth quarter on November 27, 2014 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The Seahawks won 19-3.

Photo Credit: Brian Bahr, Getty Images

Week 14: Seahawks at Eagles, 24-14 win
​Record: 9-4

Seattle Seahawks' Tharold Simon (27) intercepts a pass intended for Philadelphia Eagles' Riley Cooper (14) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in Philadelphia.

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke, AP Photo

Week 15: Seahawks at 49ers, 17-7 win
​Record: 10-4

Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman, right, closes in on San Francisco 49ers' Brandon Lloyd in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 17-7.

Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson, AP Photo

Week 16: Seahawks at Cardinals, 35-6 win
​Record: 11-4

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) can't make the catch in the end zone against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin, AP Photo

Week 17: Seahawks vs Rams, 20-6 win
​Record: 12-4

Running back Benny Cunningham #36 of the St. Louis Rams fumbles the ball across the goal line and out of bounds for a Seahawks touchback as free safety Earl Thomas #29 and cornerback Byron Maxwell #41 of the Seattle Seahawks close in during the fourth quarter of the game at CenturyLink Field on December 28, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images

Wild Card Round: Bye Week
Advance to Divisional Round

Seattle Seahawks center Max Unger takes part in practice drills Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, in Renton, Wash. Unger, who missed the last six games with an ankle injury, is expected to be in the lineup when the Seahawks play the Carolina Panthers, Saturday, Jan. 10, in an NFL football divisional playoff game.

Photo Credit: Ted S. Warren, AP Photo

NFC Divisional Round: Seahawks vs Panthers, 31-17 win
Advance to Conference Championship

DeShawn Shead #35 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts after a play against the Carolina Panthers during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at CenturyLink Field on January 10, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images

NFC Championship: Seahawks vs Packers, 28-22 win
Advance to Super Bowl XLIX

Jermaine Kearse #15 of the Seattle Seahawks catches a 35 yard game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Green Bay Packers during the 2015 NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field on January 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

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Quinn's name has been the most talked about in coaching circles since the end of the regular season because of the job he's done as Seattle's defensive coordinator the past two seasons. All signs point to Quinn becoming the next head coach in Atlanta after having a second interview with the Falcons the day after the NFC championship victory over Green Bay.

When asked about the second interview Falcons this week, Quinn said he appreciated all the opportunities he's had and then channeled his own version of Marshawn Lynch.

"Thanks for asking," he said with a grin.

But before anything can be formalized in Atlanta, Quinn's task at hand is preparing Seattle to try and slow down Tom Brady and New England in the Super Bowl next Sunday.

Ask around and you see why Quinn has become so appreciated in Seattle and why so many teams were eager to talk with him each of the past two years. Players and colleagues speak of his personality and work ethic. Quinn is not a screamer, but a teacher that no one wants to let down.

It's why Seattle's defense has been so successful. It's built on being physical and tough, but also the accountability that everyone is going to do their assignment. That directive starts with Pete Carroll, but gets passed through his coaches, like Quinn.

"It's a communication thing," Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner explained. "It's not, `You have to be here.' It's more, `Why were you here? This is what I feel. What do you feel?' and there is a middle ground. Versus maybe somebody just saying, `This is what I want,' and there is no ifs ands or buts about it. It's a communication (factor), it's a trust factor and a belief factor."

What Quinn has helped create is record setting. Seattle was one of three defenses in league history to lead the NFL in scoring defense in three straight seasons. They were the first team since the Chicago Bears in 1985-86 to lead the league in total defense and scoring defense in consecutive seasons. The numbers Seattle has posted lend credence to the argument the Seahawks are among the best of this generation.

"He stayed true to who he is. That's what's helped him be successful," said former Seattle defensive coordinator and current Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley. "That's what he'll do, I'm sure, if he gets an opportunity to be a head coach."

To that end, Quinn's arrival in Seattle brought a different level of defensive aggressiveness. While Bradley was revered by his players, he was sometimes thought to be too passive. Some of that was situational. Bradley was coaching a defense that included Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Wagner. They were talented and pointed toward success, but still very young.

Quinn believed in that youth as long as there was a high level of accountability. He was willing to let Seattle play a significant amount of man-to-man defense with Thomas the only protection in the back. The rest of Seattle's coverages are simplified. There isn't a lot of disguise and confusion with Seattle's defense. In turn, the Seahawks play faster and are more efficient.

"When he came here after we lost Gus Bradley we didn't have an identity. I think (Quinn) came and gave us an identity," Seattle linebacker Bruce Irvin said. "Respected us as players. Told us this is what we wanted, this is what he expected. Guys go out there and play for him. He's a players' coach. Pete's a players' coach so as long as you respect them and do what you've got to do they'll give you a little leeway."

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