Things really couldn’t get much worse for the Atlanta Falcons right now. Sunday, the Falcons suffered a 27-20 loss at home to the Seattle Seahawks to put Atlanta at 1-7 for the season and now, entering the Bye Week, the team picked by many experts to make the postseason needs to consider throwing in the towel this year and just focusing on the future, which could mean a complete overhaul.
That shouldn’t be hard to do, considering four of the team’s next five games are against the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons have consistently shot themselves in the foot all season, particularly at the start of games, being outscored 144-50 in first halves – and their -85 point differential is the second worst in the NFC, behind only the Washington Redskins. With so many problems, all eyes are focused on fifth year head coach Dan Quinn. Just two seasons removed from a Super Bowl appearance, albeit an epic collapse against the New England Patriots, Quinn is 37-35 as the head coach in Atlanta after a disappointing season last year where the Falcons failed to make the postseason, despite high expectations.
Quinn is clearly on the hot seat and might be the league’s next coaching fire this season. Team owner Arthur Blank spoke with the media after the Falcons’ most recent lost, saying what would indicate the 49-year-old has coached his last game with the franchise.
“We are going to do something,” Blank told the media Sunday. “We’re going to continue to think really hard and evaluate everything that we can do as an owner and as a senior management team and figure out if there is anything we can do to make some decisions here earlier and here later that would help the process, but we have no plans of making any changes right now.”
The underlying issues for Blank and the Falcons organization go much deeper than Quinn, however. There are some major upcoming decisions that will need to be made regarding the team’s lineup going forward, given the amount of high-level talent sprinkled throughout the roster. One of the names that could be at the center of the conversation is 34-year-old quarterback Matt Ryan, who has started to show signs that he’s aging, not to mention he’s set to be a almost a $34 million cap hit next season and $36 million in 2021 before a potential out in the four-time Pro Bowler’s contract. Add in the fact that superstar wideout Julio Jones’ name is being floated around before Tuesday’s trade deadline and Atlanta could potentially dump players this offseason and stock up draft picks, looking towards the next phase.
One person who’s not looking towards the future? The current head coach, who isn’t worried about getting fired, instead looking to get things right for the city of Atlanta.
“Well, I can honestly say all the time and all the attention I have, I couldn’t think of a bigger waste of my mental health and space – all I want to do is see if we can get it right,” Quinn told ESPN. “That’s what we want to deliver for Arthur [Blank]. That’s what we want to deliver for the fans, for the team. [To] have performances that the city deserves, that’s really important. So to spend any time or moments thinking, ‘What if I don’t?’ that would only take away from that.’”
He’s a dead man walking but the question is whether or not Blank will let him finish the season. All signs seem to point to it happening during the Bye Week.