Let’s take a break for a minute from the scary times across the country. But let’s not talk about free agency or the NFL Draft; we’ve been doing that for weeks and months now. Jeff Okudah, blah blah blah. Yannick Ngakoue yada yada yada.
No, instead, let’s take it back to 2017.
On September 24, 2017, one of the most impressive plays in Detroit Lions history happened. 31-year-old Glover Quin was the single-high safety against an aggressive Atlanta Falcons offense led by Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Already carrying a comfortable lead heading into the waning minutes of the first half, the Falcons decided to get aggressive and try to add onto their advantage.
Quin had other plans.
This play became a symbol of what Glover Quin meant to this team. His incredible football intelligence, his impressive instincts and his game-changing abilities.
When the play first happened, I marveled at Quin’s recognition of the play. He completely abandoned his duties—single high—and jumped the route before the play had even fully developed. I concluded, this had to be the work of some incredible film studying prior to the game.
“But Glover Quin has done his homework. It is abundantly clear that whatever film study Quin did in the leadup to this game paid off, because his ability to read this play is otherworldly.”
Three years later, Quin confirmed my suspicions. On an Instagram TV post from Monday, Quin spent eight minutes breaking down how his preparation and trust in his instincts led to the big play.
This video, I promise you, is well worth the watch.
Quin describes the moment in which everything clicked. It was the Saturday before the game while Quin was watching tape during a special teams meeting.
“I’m watching the game, and they got out to the red zone and they ran this play,” Quin said. “And I don’t know what it was at the time, but something caught my attention in this play. What caught my attention was Matt Ryan did like a little [gestures] can-can, he just did some kind of little check.”
And that was really all it took. Quin started putting puzzle pieces together, finding other instances in which Ryan ran the same play, and he started to notice a pattern.
“I noticed that most of the time when they ran it, Matt Ryan would do a little can-can, like a little check or whatever,” Quin said. “Another thing I noticed was, the area on the field that they ran it in was kind of in that backed-up, 15-to-30 area range field position wise. Another thing I noticed was a lot of time it came from like a condensed formation, looking more like a run formation.”
That Sunday, all of those puzzle pieces came together. The Falcons were backed up. They were in a condensed formation. Then, finally, the key to everything: The can-can move from Ryan. That’s when it all clicked for Quin.
“When he did that, something clicked in my head like, ‘This is it’,” Quin said.
If you’re a fan of breaking down film and seeing how preparation leads to result, the entire eight minute video is entirely worth the watch. Quin even manages to pull some life lessons from his experience.
“So many times, we might think we know something or have a good feeling or good idea or whatever, and we’re afraid to pull the trigger. It can be very frightening to screw up, especially in front of 80,000 people when all they want to do is critique you anyways. But having the courage to not be wrong, to not be afraid to be wrong, to not be afraid to mess up when you know somebody’s has got your back, to go and make that play.”