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In an effort to spark his slumping team, Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn handed out some baseballs.
Quinn turned to the national pastime _ specifically, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander _ to drive home his message that every game is decided by the smallest of the details.
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Verlander is 3-0 for the Astros in the baseball playoffs, including a five-hit complete game against the New York Yankees in the AL championship series. He'll be back on the mound in Game 6 Friday night, looking to keep Houston alive in the postseason.
"His location has to be on point," Quinn said. "If you hang a curveball in the wrong spot or a fastball in the wrong spot against a good hitter, you're going to have a mistake and pay for it."
Quinn said those same lessons apply to the gridiron.
"We passed a couple of baseballs out," Quinn said. "This one's 96 (mph). This one's 88. That was a slider. Here's a curveball. Having that kind of detail on every rep that you go, I thought, 'What a good challenge.' Obviously, the sports are different. But having a mindset to dominate, that carries over."
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)
The Falcons (3-2) have lost two in a row going into a Super Bowl rematch against the New England Patriots (4-2) on Sunday night. Atlanta is coming off an especially bitter home loss to the Miami Dolphins, who rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit for a 20-17 upset last weekend.
Quinn is trying any motivational tool he can think of to ensure the Falcons "play at our best. We haven't hit that. That's what we're chasing, to see where we can go. That's why I use examples like Justin Verlander, to say that kind of consistency is what we're chasing. When we get that kind of consistency in all three phases, our game will take off a big way."