By now, I’m sure you are all familiar with the news that Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff will be in Atlanta for the 2020 season.
While I don’t agree with the decision, it has some merit to it, and I think Arthur Blank has made some changes that could work in what will 100% be these guys’ last go around. Finish outside the playoff race next year, and Blank will need to clean house. But for now, let’s look at what these changes mean going forward.
Raheem Morris is the new Defensive Coordinator
Chase already touched on this briefly, but Raheem Morris will be calling the shots on defense next season.
As opposed as I am to keeping this current staff, I’ve said multiple times that if they clean house I wouldn’t mind seeing Morris stick around. He’s a guy who commands a lot of respect from these players, and it’s evident he’s made things much simpler for this defense since taking over for Dan Quinn during the bye week. Take a look at the results:
Before (8 Games)
PPG Allowed: 31.3
Turnovers Forced: 4
After (7 Games)
PPG Allowed: 14.7
Turnovers Forced: 13
It’s so frustrating that – after the bye week – the Falcons manage to beat the two best teams in the NFC on the road. They have stopped the run and generated a worthwhile pass rush, something that has been missing for the entirety of Quinn’s tenure. The days of getting gashed by Marlon Mack and Dalvin Cook are far in the rearview mirror, and when you combine a suffocating run defense with a pass rush, it equals turnovers. The Falcons are creating takeaways at an alarming rate, averaging nearly two per contest over the last seven weeks. They only had four in the first eight games combined.
Specifically, Morris was tasked with coaching the secondary after working with the wide receivers in the season’s first half. This was a unit that looked totally lost just weeks ago. Now, they are playing without their best corner and still competing with some of the league’s best offenses. Desmond Trufant, who is out for the season, has four interceptions. Blidi Wreh Wilson looks like an NFL CB. Isaiah Oliver was putrid to start the year and is now beginning to look like a young corner with Pro-Bowl potential. Rookie Kendall Sheffield has thrived in an increased role. And because of the secondary’s improved play, it is allowing defensive lineman more time to pressure the quarterback. Nobody is more thankful for that than Vic Beasley, who has 6.5 sacks in his last seven games. Giving the keys to Morris in the middle of the season is what saved Dan Quinn’s job, and keeping him is 1000% the right decision.
Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff will both report to Rich McKay
Even though I’m not a Thomas Dimitroff fan, this was a very savvy move by Blank. Rich McKay is well respected throughout the organization, and the Falcons need a new voice when it comes to decision making. Dan Quinn had almost complete autonomy over this team, and the choices he made were suspect at best. The 2017 draft was a train wreck. This offseason alone, Jamon Brown and James Carpenter were nearly unforgivable signings. Brian Poole has become one of the best slot corners in the NFL and could have been kept for a few million dollars. It’s obvious there’s some discourse when it comes to evaluating talent.
However, Rich McKay was once the GM of the Falcons. He hired Thomas Dimitroff to replace him in 2008 after drafting Matt Ryan and was a big part of orchestrating the Julio Jones deal. He commands a lot of respect around this team, and if he’s calling the shots in terms of free agency and the draft, this is a bearable compromise.
Chris Morgan’s status is up in the air
Most of you may have never heard of Chris Morgan. I know him as the guy who spikes my blood pressure every Sunday. The 5-year coaching staff vet and the leader of our darling offensive line, Morgan might be one guy that is not retained in 2020. I’m not that dense; I know this isn’t all Morgan’s fault. However, it might be time for a new voice. The fact of the matter is, this team is 30th in rushing yards, and Matt Ryan has taken the 2nd most QB hits this season. This offense as a whole needs a new leader. Morgan needs to go, along with…
Dirk Koetter’s status is up in the air
You knew it was coming. Listen, I don’t despise Dirk Koetter as much as most of this fanbase does. I think he has some decent concepts, but when you can’t establish the run, you can’t rely on play-action, which is where Matt Ryan is often at his best. Koetter is allergic to running the football, and that’s simply not the best way for this team to win. The Falcons have a loaded offense; it’s time to get it humming again
To lend some credence to Koetter, Atlanta is third in the league in passing. To immediately take that credence away, it’s because Matt Ryan is so good, and he has been playing from behind 80% of the time. Dirk Koetter has had a fine career as a coach, but he’s not the guy in Atlanta. Good teams run the ball, and he has proven he cannot do that. This entire offensive staff needs a new look, and since we haven’t heard anything yet about them being retained, I believe I’m going to get my wish.