3. Dan Quinn’s Make Or Break Year
Dan Quinn was hired in the wake of the Mike Smith-era coming to a crash and burn ending. Quinn didn’t find immediate success in his first season but did in his second season. Quinn led the Atlanta Falcons to the edge of a Super Bowl win. After losing heartbreakingly, Quinn led the Falcons back to the playoffs the next season before getting knocked out by eventual Super Bowl Champions, Philadelphia Eagles. Last season, Quinn’s team hit rock bottom. Quinn has little room for mistakes in this upcoming season.
Quinn can’t be completely blamed for the injuries of the defense last season. The poor performance of the offensive line can be placed somewhere in his vicinity, though. Another problem that can be directly attributed to Quinn would be his poor game managing skills. It’s something he’s aware of, hiring a coach for this upcoming season who will specifically focus on game managing situations for this team. So Quinn will be shedding some responsibilities, but he has added much bigger tasks for himself in this upcoming season.
After the dreadful season, Quinn fired the Falcons defensive Marquand Manuel. Instead of hiring a new defensive coordinator, Quinn chooses to take over the defense for himself, naming him the defensive coordinator for the upcoming season. That move feels like the last gasp of trying to save your job when you know you’re in the hot seat.
This isn’t something completely new for Quinn, however. During the Falcons Super Bowl run, Quinn took over the defense in the latter part of the season, leading to a Super Bowl. It was a shrewd move at the time, but one that doesn’t feel sustainable for an entire season. Quinn has plenty to worry about being the head coach of the Falcons. I don’t like him taking on more roles when some of his head coaching decisions are questionable. It says, to me, Quinn knows his job is on the line. He’s willing to take the risk.