Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons Coming Into Season With Massive Pressure To Perform

Atlanta Falcons, Dan Quinn (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Dan Quinn (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Football is back. This Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons will open their season on the road against the Minnesota Vikings. After a disappointing season last year, Dan Quinn is going to have immense pressure on his shoulders going into the season.

There has been a lot of talks this offseason about Dan Quinn remaining the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons after this season. Most of it would have him placed on the “hot seat” while the other side thinks the coach Quinn deserves more time with this team, regardless of what happens this season. Both sides have valid points. Coach Quinn has had a lot of success in Atlanta, but also some big disappointments. The one evident thing is Dan Quinn must avoid the pitfalls of what grounded last season before it could get off the ground.

After three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Dan Quinn would go on to suffer his first losing season since taking over as head coach. Looking at the Falcons record last season, 7-9 doesn’t tell the entire story. A slew of injuries early on in the season quickly derailed any hope of this team returning to the playoffs for the third year in a row. The Falcons would fall to a season-low of 5-9 before going on a three-game winning streak to finish the season at 7-9.

The injuries are not Dan Quinn’s fault. That’s apart of the game. Last season it was the Falcons turn to suffer the injury bug. Coming into this season, all injured Falcons from last season are back and ready to go. The offseason was used wisely to fill in gaps at the offensive line and kicking game to shore up the weak spots of this team. Coming into this season, the expectations lie with the playoffs once again.

With such a talented roster in place for Atlanta, the expectations are always going to high. Matt Ryan, last season, put up almost identical numbers to his MVP season with a bad offensive line and little running game. Those hindrances should be solved with the additions of multiple players on the offensive line and Devonta Freeman returning full-time from injury. Dirk Koetter, the new offensive coordinator, seems to be committed to the run in a big way this season. The shackles will be off for the Atlanta Falcons offense this season.

Dirk Koetter will be running the offense, virtually, all on his own. That leaves the defensive duties to Dan Quinn. After the disappointing season last year, Quinn fired his defensive coordinator and named himself defensive coordinator as well as head coach. This isn’t unheard of with Dan Quinn. In 2016, the Super Bowl year, Quinn took over defensive playcalling at the end of the regular season and playoffs. Quinn is hoping he can recapture the same magic the propelled them to the Super Bowl.

The Falcons are back at full strength, with almost the same roster that played in the Super Bowl in 2016 minus some players here and there, this team should be gunning to get back into that same position. Dan Quinn must take the talent that has been assembled and turn them back in the consistent winners they were. It feels like Dan Quinn can’t afford to miss the playoffs for another season.

It won’t be easy for Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons. New Orleans has been on the doorstep of the Super Bowl the last two seasons, and they lie within the Falcons own division. Chicago, Minnesota, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles all have Super Bowl expectations coming into the season. The Falcons will have to play a lot of these teams in the regular season, the Saints twice. It’s going to be an uphill battle for Quinn to find success this season.

If the Falcons get off to a bad start, which is possible with a very challenging opening part of the season, the talk of Quinn’s demise will get louder. Quinn will have to bounce back in a big way to hold onto the job security he has at the moment. I don’t think Quinn can suffer another losing season if this roster can stay healthy throughout the season, and return as the Falcons head coach. Maybe a 7-9 season would see him return, but another losing season would just waste another season of Matt Ryan and this core Quinn has built up for 4 years.

I don’t think Quinn will find himself on the “hot seat” this season because I don’t see this Falcons team completely collapsing. With Matt Ryan still playing at a high level, and the defense returned to health, this team is too good to have a losing record. Dan Quinn knows the right buttons to press to lead this team to success. If he can push the right buttons once again, everything will be quiet around Atlanta.