The Dan Quinn Show Goes On

Today, the Falcons announced that despite a 1-7 start and bungling the cap space on an offensive line that didn’t work, the Falcons will be keeping coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimtrioff on board. While you can point to the 5-2 record after the bye or the decisive wins over the Saints and the 49ers, the truth of the matter is that Dan Quinn is the best bad option the Falcons have at this point.

As my brother pointed out, you can’t get rid of Dimitroff because a new GM would want a new head coach. As Dave Choate at The Falcoholic points out, you can’t get a new head coach who’s any good because the cap hit created by Dimitroff prevents the flexibility to build a new team. Getting rid of Dan Quinn would likely just get you a Mike McCarthy or some other retread rather than a rising star like Lincoln Riley who could remake the team. Quinn and Dimitroff are chained to each other, which means the Falcons organization is chained to them.

To be fair to Dan Quinn, he’s not all downside. The players love him and will fight like hell for him. He had the humility to recognize he couldn’t continue on in the defensive coordinator position and handed it off to people who have done a much better job. Give me the choice between Dan Quinn and Mike McCarthy, and I’ll happily take Dan Quinn, but the bummer of it all is that I wish we didn’t have to make that choice.

My biggest problem with Dan Quinn is that we’ve been with him for five years now, and what you see is what you get. Barring some magnificent drafting a la Sean Payton or Jason Garrett, I don’t see how the Falcons can dig themselves out of their hole in 2020. Maybe they’ll go 9-7 or something, but I don’t see how they compete with the Saints. Sean Payton may be a deeply odious human being, but he’s a hell of a coach and we saw this season that even without Drew Brees, the Saints will be just fine.

This means that for the Falcons to even have a prayer, everything rests on an offensive coordinator who can not only get the most of these players, but get them on board with their scheme in a single season. It’s easy to remember the 2016 season where Mike Shanahan’s offense was putting up over 40 points per game and Matt Ryan was the MVP. But go back to 2015 and Shanahan looked like a terrible hire and Ryan appeared to be washed up. There’s no room now for an 8-8 get-right season, and Quinn has missed with his last two OC hires.

It’s incredibly frustrating for fans like myself because we can see that the talent is there. A team with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Austin Hooper, Calvin Ridley, Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen, and so on does not have a personnel problem. These guys know how to play and they can play well, but this season you can see how they’ve been failed by scheme. It was defenders out of positions in the first half of the season and an offensive line letting Matt Ryan get killed all season.

There are also problems that I don’t think Quinn will fix about himself. The Falcons struggle like crazy in the third quarter and have to make it up in the fourth. The killer instinct that was present in 2016 was only present in 2016. Quinn’s clock and timeout management is a mess. And the one that gets me is how undisciplined the team can be when it comes to penalties. Can a single OC hire fix all of these issues?

Probably not, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons go 7-9 again in 2020 with a high side of 9-7. I’d love to be wrong and for them to play like they did in 2016 (they got back to the playoffs again in 2017, but that season was brutal to watch with the Falcons constantly scraping by on luck). I wouldn’t say keeping Quinn and Dimitroff is a good decision, but it’s the best one Arthur Blank had.

Update: The Falcons are brining back Koetter so 7-9 season it is!

Friday, December 27th, 2019 sports

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