Atlanta Falcons proprietor Arthur Clean was requested late final season why he selected to retain coach Dan Quinn and normal supervisor Thomas Dimitroff after the staff ended on a 5-2 run to complete 7-9. Clean mentioned he thought the Falcons had turned a nook.
“Time will inform, however I feel based mostly on all the data that we now have out there to us — based mostly on the way in which the staff is enjoying, based mostly on the way in which the teaching workers is main — that we now have each motive to suppose that the success we have had not for one recreation, however over a seven-game time frame behind the 12 months, there isn’t any motive to suppose that is not sustainable going ahead,” Clean mentioned.
He was flawed. The Falcons fired Quinn and Dimitroff on Sunday night with two years remaining on their contracts after an 0-5 begin in 2020 and consecutive 7-9 finishes the earlier two seasons.
It marks the primary time Clean, who bought the Falcons in 2002, has fired a coach in-season. The earlier time the Falcons fired a coach through the season was 1968, when Norb Hecker was let go after an 0-Three begin.
What occurs subsequent? Search for Clean to rent an offensive-minded coach after back-to-back defensive coaches in Quinn (43-42) and Mike Smith (66-46). With Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and Hayden Hurst signed past this season, the Falcons are constructed to depend on offense greater than protection.
It may also be extraordinarily difficult to make vital defensive upgrades with the Falcons projected to be greater than $20 million over the wage cap heading into 2021. Roughly $124 million in 2021 cap house is tied to 5 gamers: quarterback Ryan, broad receiver Jones, defensive sort out Grady Jarrett, offensive sort out Jake Matthews and pass-rusher Dante Fowler Jr.
The Falcons might need to depend on securing a excessive draft decide to search out one other defensive playmaker, though not all of their current first-rounders have panned out (see pass-rusher Vic Beasley, Quinn’s first draft decide).
As for Quinn, issues began to crumble for him and the Falcons after they blew that notorious 28-3, third-quarter result in the New England Patriots in Tremendous Bowl LI on Feb. 5, 2017. The Patriots emerged with a 34-28 extra time victory and the Falcons have but to get well. Quinn went 24-29 after the Tremendous Bowl.
What occurred following that Tremendous Bowl defeat that led to Quinn’s dismissal? Here is a timeline of occasions.
Feb. 6, 2017: Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaves. Shanahan was employed as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers at some point after the Tremendous Bowl loss. As a lot as of us criticized Shanahan for not working the soccer whereas holding a double-digit Tremendous Bowl lead, he was the first motive the Falcons made it that far within the first place. His outside-zone scheme and the play-action that got here off it helped Ryan evolve into the league MVP and guided the Falcons to a league-best 33.eight factors per recreation. The Falcons in all probability ought to have jumped on quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur as Shanahan’s successor earlier than LaFleur took the job as offensive coordinator for the Rams.
Jan. 13, 2018: Falcons fall to Eagles in divisional playoff. After beating the Rams on the highway, the Falcons misplaced a gut-wrenching, 15-10 resolution to the Eagles within the divisional spherical of the 2017 playoffs. Though the Falcons had been capable of make it again to the playoffs with Steve Sarkisian because the offensive coordinator, they could not mirror the identical offensive success even with Sarkisian implementing Shanahan’s scheme. Going through first-and-goal with greater than a minute left in regulation, Ryan and the offense could not punch it into the tip zone on 4 makes an attempt. Ryan took two photographs to receiver Jones, who caught the final one however was unable to get in for the go-ahead rating.
Nov. 11, 2018: Falcons fall to Browns 28-16. Surrendering a 92-yard landing run to Browns rookie working again Nick Chubb with defenders diving however lacking tackles was symbolic of Atlanta’s downfall. It was the start of a five-game shedding streak that dropped the Falcons to 4-9 with no probability to get well. Change was inevitable after shedding to a Browns staff that was driving a four-game shedding streak and enjoying an erratic rookie quarterback in Baker Mayfield.
Dec. 31, 2018: Quinn components methods with all three coordinators. After a 7-9 end, Quinn severed ties with Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.
“Whereas these are troublesome selections, we all know we now have a gaggle of gamers right here we’re enthusiastic about,” Quinn mentioned, “and to ensure that us to constantly play true to our id in all three phases, we thought we wanted some adjustments.” Quinn took over as defensive coordinator, a transfer that may backfire ultimately. He then employed former Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter as coordinator, reuniting Koetter with Ryan from Koetter’s first stint as Falcons OC. The transition to Koetter actually hasn’t been a seamless one.
Oct. 6, 2019: Falcons give up nearly 600 yards in a 53-32 loss to Texans. This recreation was vital not simply because it dropped the Falcons to 1-Four on the identical stadium the place they blew the Tremendous Bowl. It stood out as a result of a few days afterward, Quinn mentioned, “My job is to repair it” in explaining why he would not hand over the defensive playcalling. After this recreation, Quinn surrendered the playcalling to linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich and secondary coach Raheem Morris after transferring Morris from teaching broad receivers. The Falcons performed higher within the second half of the season thanks largely to Morris serving to the secondary, however they could not overcome a 1-7 begin. Morris was named defensive coordinator after the season.
Dec. 27, 2019: Clean retains Quinn, Dimitroff. Previous to the Falcons’ season finale at Tampa Bay, Clean introduced that each Quinn and Dimitroff could be retained for no less than the 2020 season after they had been awarded extensions. Clean cited the advance within the second half of the season after the 1-7 begin. However Clean additionally assigned staff president Wealthy McKay to supervise each Quinn and Dimitroff.
Sept. 27, 2020: Falcons blow a fourth-quarter lead in loss to Bears. Of all of the losses through the 0-Four begin, that is the one which needs to be magnified greater than every other. Sure, the Falcons underestimated Russell Wilson in a season-opening loss to the Seahawks. And sure, the Falcons had one of many greatest, most boneheaded errors of all time in not recovering the onside kick within the loss to the Cowboys. However for the Falcons to blow a 26-10, fourth-quarter lead at dwelling to a subpar Bears staff was inexcusable. The Falcons grew to become the primary staff in NFL historical past to blow 15-plus-point fourth-quarter leads in two video games in a single season, and the Falcons did it in consecutive weeks. They grew to become the laughingstock of the NFL world, and for good motive.
Oct. 11, 2020: Falcons drop NFC South opener at dwelling to the Panthers. Ryan threw a fourth-quarter interception ultimately zone and the protection surrendered 437 whole yards. The protection was dominated bodily, permitting manner too many yards after contact and after catches. The Panthers had 175 yards after the catch and 91 yards after contact. The Falcons have allowed essentially the most yards after the catch (862) and the fourth most yards after contact (464) this season. After the sport, gamers comparable to Ryan, working again Todd Gurley and middle Alex Mack expressed their assist for Quinn.