So how can a player that dominant get even better? According to Quinn, it’s all about setting big goals.
“Pretty good” is definitely a relative term when you compare Quinn’s numbers to players around the league, especially those within his own draft class. The Ram is one of a few from the 2011 draft to already establish himself as of the league’s elite pass rushers. Also drafted that year were the now-household names Vonn Miller, Aldon Smith, and J.J. Watt.
But Quinn has long had the drive to become one of the best, which is part of why he sets his goals so high.
“I’ve been doing that really since high school, when I started playing,” Quinn said. “Just expecting so much out of myself, and trying to hold myself accountable to be the best player and teammate I can be to help this team win.”
On of the more significant changes on Quinn’s side of the ball this season is Gregg Williams as its new coordinator. Quinn said that while Williams is well known for putting together strong units, he doesn’t get enough credit for just how smart he is as a coach.
Of course, Williams is also known for his coaching style, which often features him barking on the field during practice. Quinn said Williams is getting players adapted to his coaching style, and they’re trying to perform up to their new coordinator’s expectations.
“He demands so much from us and that’s something he does -- holding us all accountable no matter who you are and we’re all just trying to rise to the occasion,” Quinn said. “Every now and again you make a bad play, and that’s when you hear him yelling at you. But as long as you keep making plays, he’ll back off.
“You can’t really take offense to it because all he wants is the best from you,” Quinn added. “He’s trying to get you to play as best as possible for our defense.”
“Aaron [Donald] has definitely been showing some more consistent flashes,” Quinn said. “He’s so quick off the ball, makes plays in the backfield, so hopefully that will continue as the season goes on.”
But Quinn said it’s the mix of rookies and veterans that makes the game for him.
“You see guys in different spurts at times making plays, no matter if they’re younger or old,” Quinn said. “That’s what makes it so fun.”
That diversity and the high bar, of course. And even if he does fall a little bit short of those big-time goals, there should still be plenty of fun to be had in 2014.