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Dan Quinn approves Falcons calling players-only meeting

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he had no issues with his team calling a players-only meeting to address the team's four-game losing streak.

Wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White, along with linebacker O'Brien Schofield, huddled after Sunday's 20-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and decided it was a necessary step. The meeting took place Monday.

"This is a really close group already," Quinn said. "When you take that to a new spot, I think that's when it can be productive. I think the only times I've seen where a situation like that wasn't as effective, it was a third time, a fourth time, where some points that the group together didn't get across.

"Having a [players-only] meeting has happened to lots of teams I've been a part of. ... It's kind of a pretty cool thing in a lot of ways because it's like: 'Hey, man, I'm all in for you. Whatever you need, you can count on me.' ... Knowing the group that we have, I couldn't be more pleased that they got together; what they stand for [and] how bad they want it."

Quinn was informed of the meeting before it occurred. Veteran left guard Andy Levitre, who has participated in players-only meetings both in Buffalo and Tennessee, offered his thoughts on how events unfolded.

"It wasn't like anything hostile," Levitre said. "It's pretty much just making sure everyone was on the same page."

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was asked about the meeting following Wednesday's practice.

"I think that's a good part of a team, is to have good, solid leadership guys that voice stuff to get it all going in the same direction,'' Ryan said.

"To me, that's the key: for all of us to be on the same page and be moving in the same direction, and we are. And I think we have been all year. We haven't played as well as we have liked. That's as simple as it is. We've had opportunities. We haven't gotten it done, but I think we've been tight all year.''

Linebacker Paul Worrilow wouldn't reveal what was said during the meeting.

"What we discussed in there is between us," Worrilow said. "It's just kind of getting focused moving forward; making sure that everybody's all in, which we all are."

Veteran linebacker Justin Durant apparently said a few words.

"Felt like we just needed to have a discussion, and that's between us," Durant said. "I don't really think it says anything. We just wanted to talk to each other. It's open to everybody. Anybody has the floor, from the youngest guy to the oldest guy. Whoever had something they wanted to say, they could say it."

"I think they're positive. It's not that deep. It's not as deep as people think it is."

The 6-5 Falcons started the season 5-0 but have lost five of the last six heading into Sunday's NFC South showdown with Tampa Bay (5-6). Both teams currently stand outside the six-team NFC playoff pictures, with the Falcons the seventh seed and the Buccaneers eighth.