The Atlanta Falcons will close out the season this Sunday when the team will play their final game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After having a much better second half of the season, some believe Dan Quinn will remain the head coach following the season.
It’s well-known that the Atlanta Falcons completely bombed their season in the first 8 weeks of the year with their 1-7 start. I don’t need to go back over how unprepared, lifeless, and lack of discipline this Falcons team had in the first 8 weeks. I’m on the record as stating that Dan Quinn should have been fired during the bye-week, so there was nothing he did in the second half of the season that would change my opinion. Dan Quinn deserves to be fired as the Atlanta Falcons head coach.
Now, thankfully, I don’t make these massively important personnel decisions for the Atlanta Falcons. Arthur Blank has plenty of well-paid people in place to make those choices, right or wrong. When Blank decided not to fire Quinn during the bye-week, something I predicted would happen, he only started to make his decision that much more difficult. Now, after the Falcons have gone 5-2 in their last seven games, the decision seems to only be getting more complicated.
There are multiple factors as to why this team has not completely given up on the season. Talent and pride are the first two factors that come to mind for me. No one can deny that this Falcons team refuses to quit on their head coach, which is a good sign. However, a team with this much talent on the roster is going to luck their way into at least a couple wins during the season. A team this talented may even knock off a couple of teams that are clearly better than the Falcons, something that did happen this season.
A lot of Dan Quinn’s supporters like to point to the two biggest wins of the season for the Falcons, beating the Saints and 49ers on the road. While those are two great wins, it shouldn’t be the highlight of the season for the Falcons that is going to see the team finish under .500 and miss the playoffs again. The fact that the Falcons can win two games like that but still finish 6-10, 7-9 is a massive issue. The two road wins are because of the talent and pride of the players on this team. The final record of this season, and last season, fall directly on Dan Quinn.
Also, let’s not forget what happened last season. The Falcons finished 7-9 after falling to 4-9 on the season. The Falcons needed to go on a three-game winning streak just to get to 7-9. Quinn and everyone around this Falcons team said the momentum they finished the season with would carry over into next season. We all saw how the first 8 weeks went, with no momentum being carried over. There is already chatter around Atlanta saying if the team could retain Dan Quinn maybe this momentum will carry over into next season. It won’t and the Falcons shouldn’t give Quinn the opportunity to be the one who tries next season.
Also, last season, Dan Quinn fired his entire staff after the disappointment of last year. Dan Quinn promised to fix the defense and make that his main priority. After multiple blowouts through the first eight weeks and embarrassing performances from the defense, Quinn gave up his defensive duties to Raheem Morris and Jeff Ulbrich. After the change, the Falcons defense has been much improved. It shouldn’t and can’t be forgotten how bad Quinn’s defense was early in the season after putting his name all over the defense.
To make my position even more clear, I do not believe Dan Quinn should be retained as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. While I make no difference in this situation, the points that were made can’t be ignored. The Falcons have had two seasons of evidence, and a third if you want to count Quinn’s first season when the Falcons started 5-0 only to finish 8-8. The Falcons can’t risk throwing another season down the drain. Quinn is too streaky of a coach to ever get the Falcons back to competing on a regular basis. It’s always going to be risky bringing in a new coach, but bringing in a new coach is worth the risk when it’s evident what Dan Quinn is capable of as a head coach.