Dan Quinn eager to have Julio Jones for the long haul

New Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn obviously wants to see receiver Julio Jones be a significant part of the Falcons for years to come.

When asked after his introductory news conference if Jones is someone the coach hopes to see with the team for the long term, Quinn responded, "[He] is. What a tough matchup to cover. I think one of the things that I respect most is [he's] a relentless competitor, the way he can go attack the ball. I can't wait to get connected with him."

Jones, who turned 26 on Tuesday, is going into the last year of his contract after the Falcons exercised his fifth-year option. He will make $10.176 million in 2015 and become a free agent going into 2016 unless the Falcons give him an extension or opt to place the franchise tag on him. Team owner Arthur Blank told ESPN.com it would be Quinn's decision whether to extend Jones, with Quinn in control of the 53-man roster.

It's a safe bet Quinn will make sure Jones gets locked up.

"The things I've heard about him, just in terms of the leader he's become on and off the field, can't wait to connect with him," Quinn said. "For me, just to have the chance to start the process with him, I can't wait. … We love great players, and we want to celebrate all the good guys that we have. We're trying to collect more great players, not the other way around."

Here are some other odds and ends from Quinn's first day:

• Quinn had some characters to deal with while he was the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks, including vocal cornerback Richard Sherman. But even with all the Pro Bowlers on the roster, Quinn said he had no issues getting on the top players when he had to. He'll carry the same philosophy moving forward. "To me, it's going to start in terms of our practice," Quinn said. "If we're going to be a great team, we're going to become a great practicing team first. And it's going to carry over onto the field." And by the way, Quinn made sure to clarify how great it was to work with Sherman. "He has the mental quickness of a QB,'' Quinn said of Sherman. "Add that to the fact that he was one of the hardest-practicing players. He was as fun to coach as you could get. Sometimes people get a perception about a guy. He loved to be coached hard, and he wouldn't want a pass completed on him in walk-through.''

• Quinn takes his relationships with the players very seriously. He addressed the topic several times. "It's one of the things I love the most about coaching, being connected with these players," he said. "There are all sorts of guys and we reach them differently. Some guys you have to put your arm around and tell them what a good job they did, and other guys you have to find other ways to motivate them. For me, that job is one that I cherish -- knowing that I can have an effect on how a guy can improve and develop. Our whole staff, we are going to be a developmental staff. Our real goal in that is how far can we take each player. That's our goal. From the guys that we bring in to training camp, how well can we learn them, how far can we push them, and see how good each guy can get.

"As we go through the whole team and each guy that we bring here, that is going to be our goal, how good each guy can get. That's a lot for the staff, to get to know these guys and find out what makes them tick. That relationship is one that we really cherish. Through the years there have been a number of guys that have had a huge impact on me through my years in San Francisco with Bryant Young, or in Miami with Jason Taylor, or at the Jets, or so many of the guys I've been connected with in Seattle. They have had a huge impact on me, as well. That is one of the parts of the job I love the most."

Quinn already has a connection with cornerback Desmond Trufant because he is the younger brother of former Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant.

• After Quinn talked about how excited he is to begin his partnership with franchise quarterback Matt Ryan, the coach laid out his offensive philosophy.

"The No. 1 thing for me is balance," he said. "A team that's able to … run and pass, that's the hardest to go against. I have always admired teams that have tough, physical styles, something like the zone run game, and then also have ways to attack vertically in the passing game. For me, the No. 1 criteria is going to be balance and having different ways to attack. That's why it's so important for me to have this understanding of how we can do it. With all of the pieces we have here, it's going to be a terrific fit."