Dan Quinn took a page out of Pete Carroll's book and hired a DJ to play Falcons camp to create a game-like environment and facilitate better on-field communication
Atlanta DJ Jay Envy is a fixture in the local nightclub scene. As the winner of 2014 Best of Atlanta DJ, he regularly fields requests for gigs across the city. This past spring, he received an unusual request.
It was Falcons strength and conditioning coach AJ Neibel. Neibel called up Envy (real name: James Lam) before the start of OTAs, on the hunt for a DJ to help push practices to the next level and got Envy’s name from Red Bull. Envy quickly signed on for OTAs and training camp, and although his perch on the balcony overlooking the practice fields of the Falcons facility couldn’t be more different from the DJ booth at dark indoor clubs, he said playing Falcons camp is the same idea- minus the strobe lights.
“I’ve never played training camp or any other football gigs before but it's the same concept really,” Envy said. “Get people hyped and bodies sweating.”
Said linebacker Brooks Reed: ”When you’re out here sweating and there’s no noise, you just think about how tired you are. But when there’s music in the background, you’re more in the moment and not thinking about how tired you are.”
It’s well documented that Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll uses loud music to energize his players at practices. So it comes as no surprise that first-year coach Dan Quinn would take this tactic from his former boss and implement it in Flowery Branch. “It’s like a new energy,” receiver Roddy White said. “Q is making sure everybody is up and going. Whatever keeps the players going, to keep us happy.”
White’s favorite song on the hip-hop heavy playlist is, “We in Da City” by Young Dro. Envy met with White and the rest of the Falcons several times to get a feel of what the players wanted to hear (Kevin Gates, Troy Ave, Migos and K Camp were popular requests). “Turns out they liked the same type of music I do so it made my job easy,” Envy said. “Being born and raised in Atlanta, hip hop is my first love so it was easy to cater to the players.”
While the right tracks give players the extra push they didn't know was there, the music is more than just a way to stay motivated at practice. The Falcons (minus Quinn) are no stranger to simulated crowd noise, and Jay Envy’s tracks create an extremely distracting game-like atmosphere. “It’s never quiet in the game, that’s very rare for it to be quiet,” tight end Jacob Tamme said. “The only problem is that I can’t hear the quarterback. I don’t like that part, but it makes it game-like so it’s good work for us.”
By the end of training camp, the Falcons will be well-adjusted to the situations Tamme describes- where traditional verbal communication doesn’t carry through the sounds of the crowd. “It’s just another part of Quinn’s philosophy, trying to simulate a game-type atmosphere,” Tamme said. White agreed, noting the loud noise aids the offense in facilitating communication- especially during two-minute drills.
While Tamme and White benefit from the game-like environment, running back Devonta Freeman claimed he doesn’t notice the blaring music. “I don’t hear it,” he said. “I tune everything out when I practice. I’ve been taught over the years to concentrate only on my job. I can’t tell you what songs they play.”
The music volume doesn’t turn down with the horn that signals the end of practice. “We actually do it all over, even in the meeting rooms,” White said. White isn’t kidding- an hour after practice broke for team meetings, the walls of the Falcons headquarters at Flowery Branch shook and the floor vibrated from the heavy bass of songs by Future, Rich Homie Quan and Drake (Back to Back was on the playlist, are the Falcons on Team Drake?)
While only 53 players will make the final roster at the end of camp, Envy has proven himself worthy to Falcons staff; he recently signed on to be the Falcons official DJ throughout the season and will provide his tunes at all home games at the Georgia Dome.
SAMPLING OF SUNDAY’S PLAYLIST:
U Mad- Vic Mensa ft. Kanye West
Work- ASAP Ferg
Karate Chop- Future ft. Lil Wayne
Booyah (Party Favor Remix)
Racks- YC feat. Future
We Dem Boyz- Wiz Khalifa
Back to Back- Drake
Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh) - Rich Homie Quan
It’s All About the Benjamins- Puff Daddy ft. The Notorious B.I.G. The LOX & Lil Kim
Don’t Tell Em- Jeremih
Bring Em Out- T.I.
My Partna Dem- Rich Kids