Going into the San Francisco 49ers game, it felt like a forgone conclusion that the Atlanta Falcons would be moving on from Dan Quinn after this catastrophe of a season. Now, after the win against the 49ers, is Dan Quinn’s job safe.
Coming off the disappointing 7-9 season from last year, Dan Quinn was on thin ice at the start of the season. When the Atlanta Falcons started the season 1-7, it was assumed Quinn wouldn’t make it through the end of the season. Fast forward to today, after wins against New Orleans and San Francisco, the Falcons have gone 4-2 in the second half of the season. If the Falcons win their last two to go 6-2, can Dan Quinn save his job and survive this season?
In my opinion, Dan Quinn should not save his job, despite the Falcons improved play in the second half of the season. The Falcons and Arthur Blank have had two full seasons of evidence that prove Quinn is underachieving with this Falcons team. After the heights this team reached early in Quinn’s tenure, the Falcons have been a complete and utter disappointment, perhaps the most disappointing team in all of football. Even with all of the positives signs at the end of the season, it’s just not worth the risk to bring Quinn back. In this situation, it just feels like the negatives greatly outnumber the positives.
Let’s get into some of the negatives and positives of retaining Quinn versus letting him go. The most evident negative would be wasting another season of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, two players who are closer to the end of their primes. Another negative would be continuing to let Quinn run and shape the defensive identity of the Falcons, something he hasn’t been successful at his entire time with the Falcons.
If the Falcons were to retain Quinn, the only positive thing we could do is make it back to the playoffs. The Falcons are a team that is talented enough to be in the playoff race, so simply getting back to the playoffs to lose during Wild Card weekend would not be good enough. Quinn set the expectations high from the start, and unfortunately, was not able to maintain those lofty standards. It’s been so bad these last two years that making the playoffs wouldn’t be good enough for Arthur Blank and this fanbase. The pressure would be on Quinn to make the playoffs and make a deep run. At the moment, it feels very unlikely Quinn is capable of leading a team on a deep playoff run.
When this season is said and done, Quinn should be let go as the Falcons head coach. Quinn didn’t bottom out to the extent his predecessor, Mike Smith, did, but these last two seasons are enough to justify the move by the Falcons to move on from Quinn. Yes, this team has looked a lot better and clearly wants to fight for their head coach, but the writing has been on the wall. It’s time to move on from Dan Quinn.