INDIANAPOLIS – New Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is in a Phoenix hotel conference room moving around used coffee cups to describe how Frank Gore runs.
Quinn has seen too much of Gore for his liking.
As the former defensive coordinator for the Seahawks, Quinn prepared for Gore (who he calls, "as hard a runner to go against as you can find") twice a season for four years.
When Gore flipped over to the AFC, Quinn thought he was done with the fall out of bed 1,000-yard rusher.
Not so fast.
"Frank Gore is a really tough competitor," Quinn says, reaching for the cups to a diagram a Gore run, while attending the NFL Owner Meetings in March.
"He's got toughness and all of a sudden he runs a play, and there's a hole this size (Quinn pushes the cups on the table closer together) and he somehow slips through it for 25 yards and your like, 'Man, how did that just happen?'
"Going against guys like Frank is a blast because you know he's going to bring it every down."* *
In his debut season as an NFL head coach, Quinn has found himself having a blast shutting down some of the league's top running backs.
Pro Bowl runners DeMarco Murray, Alfred Morris and Arian Foster have combined for 34 rushing yards on 24 carries in their respective meetings with Atlanta this season.
Gore has reached 75 scrimmage yards in seven straight games.
Something has to give on Sunday.
In the Colts two wins with Matt Hasselbeck under center this year, Gore was a major focal point (39 combined carries for 151 yards).
The backfield for the Colts on Sunday will be a combined 72 years old, and it's Gore's age of 32 that has the Falcons head coach very confused.
"If you had not told me the age, I never would have guessed that," Quinn said on Wednesday's weekly conference call.
"I have the most respect for his vision. He's been part of a gap scheme where he totally understands the run fits. In other words, he may start in an A-gap where a linebacker's ready to go fit. (Gore) cuts, and then cuts again. Often times it's like, 'Man, where did that two-yard run turn into an eight-yard run and the eight one go to a 20-yard one, where it looks like it's going to be stopped but the feet kept going.' He has the ability to make some runs go from where it looks like it may be small, to where it could go bigger. I know from personal experience and coaching against him we better have our tackling just right because he's a legit competitor for sure."