Let’s not beat around the bush here: last week’s performance against the Vikings was a total embarrassment. I don’t think anybody who watched the game thought the Falcons were outmatched, but it was easy to tell they were unprepared and lifeless for sixty minutes in a season-opener. That kind of performance lies solely on the head coach, and as much as I’ve backed Dan Quinn for the past four seasons, he better have his men prepared for the home-opener against the Eagles. Because if not, the simmer under his seat is going to start heating up real quick.
It’s difficult to blame Quinn for last season. The Falcons were decimated by a wave of injuries that no team could overcome, leading to a 7-9 campaign. But for everyone to return healthy – with all the hype surrounding this team – and to look like that. It is unacceptable.
Quinn has had a say in personnel decisions since he arrived in Atlanta. He was praised for eyeing out the talents of Keanu Neal and Deion Jones when few others were talking about them leading up to the draft. Now, he has to answer for the numerous picks and decisions that have not panned out.
The two defensive ends he selected have been duds to this point. Everyone keeps expecting a breakout from Takk McKinley, but it has yet to happen, and he looked hopeless for the most part on Sunday. Atlanta also opted to bring back Vic Beasley at a ridiculous number, and all of his faults were glaringly apparent against the Vikings. Isaiah Oliver, the Falcons second-round pick in 2018, didn’t look like he was ready to start in pass protection or against the run at the corner position. And do I even have to start with the offensive line? The group that the Falcons put all their resources into this offseason was as incompetent as ever, failing to give Ryan any time in the pocket. Since those first couple of draft classes, not a lot of good has come out of the draft or free agency for the Falcons, and part of that lies on Quinn.
It’s typical of a coach to fire all of his coordinators when he’s on the brink of the hot seat himself. That’s what Quinn did last offseason, letting go of his offensive, defensive, and special teams coordinators. Now, I can agree with firing Sark, who had no business landing the job in the first place, but none of Quinn’s handpicked replacements looked like they had a plan in Week 1. The first punt of the season was miserably protected and blocked. Quinn’s fancy 5-2 defense that he installed himself looked flawed, especially against the run. And Dirk Koetter was only able to come up with 12 points despite the Falcons making it into Minnesota territory on seven of their ten drives. It was embarrassing.
Both of those are reasons why coaches lose their jobs in the NFL, but they pale in comparison to what happened on Sunday afternoon. The Falcons came out with no life, no energy, no physicality, and no identity. They were a lost team, waiting for the clock to run out so they could collect their check and go home. Arthur Blank handed out millions on millions of dollars this offseason. If Dan Quinn’s squad comes out as lifeless in the home opener as they did against the Vikings; serious consideration regarding his job will start before we get to next Monday.