The Falcons‘ season ended following the victory over the Buccaneers, but there are plenty of coaches and players with ties to Atlanta that will be participating in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs this weekend.
Beginning on the coaching staffs, the men most responsible for the Falcons’ Super Bowl collapse will meet in San Francisco. Dan Quin, the head coach during his tenure in Atlanta, will coordinate the Cowboys’ defense and face his former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the current head coach and playcaller of the 49ers. It’ll be interesting to see what that matchup will bring, and Falcons fans can expect a dozen 28-3 references, so be prepared.
There are plenty of former players on these playoff teams as well. None will be more impactful than Foyesade Oluokun. The former Falcons linebacker signed a lucrative free agent deal with the Jaguars after spending his rookie contract in Atlanta. In Jacksonville, Foye has continued his impressive play. Against the Chiefs, he’ll likely be tasked with covering Travis Kelce in some capacity. That’s a tall ask for the former Yale Bulldog.
Hayden Hurst could also potentially have a significant impact. The Bengals have three fantastic receivers led by Ja’Marr Chase; Hurst isn’t necessarily as important to his team’s chances of winning compared to Oluokun. Still, Hurst can hurt a Bills defense that hasn’t quite lived up to expectations because of injuries. Funny enough, former Falcons safety Dean Marlowe will likely draw several matchups against Hurst — a battle of Falcons!
Former Falcons pass rushers Takkarist McKinley and Dante Fowler have been playing under their former head coach. Dallas’ defense, led by Quinn, is extremely talented but will have a difficult task this weekend. The Niners and Shanahan are as formidable as any offense left in the playoffs, including the Chiefs, Bengals, and Bills. McKinley, Fowler, and Quinn will have their hands full.
Good luck to all former (and future) Falcons this weekend!