For an NFL coach, job security is little more than a pipe dream. Unless you’re an all-time great like Bill Belichick, every poor performance brings a risk of receiving a pink slip. Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is learning that first hand.
Despite the Falcons struggles, team owner Arthur Blank has been urging patience, saying that there’s no specific timeline to decide Quinn’s fate. Does the coach deserve more time, though?
Dan Quinn’s coaching career
Quinn got his start at the college level, serving as the William & Mary defensive line coach. He would take on the same role at VMI and Hofstra; he would also serve as the Pride’s defensive coordinator. After that, he made the jump to the NFL.
Quinn’s first pro job came with the San Francisco 49ers, where he served as defensive quality control coach, and, later, defensive line coach. He would also run the defensive line for the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, before moving to the Seahawks and Florida Gators. Quinn started to make a name for himself in the Pacific Northwest, managing the Legion of Boom and helping Seattle lift the Lombardi Trophy.
That success carried Quinn to the Atlanta Falcons job. His first season in the south finished .500, but the next season was a striking improvement; the Falcons made it all the way to the Super Bowl, only to blow a historic lead. Since then, things have tailed off.
The Atlanta Falcon’s current struggles
This season, the Falcons have struggled on both sides of the ball. While the offense has started to recover from a sluggish start to the season, the defense’s struggles are especially notable.
The Falcons are currently 27th worst defense in the NFL from a yardage perspective, allowing almost 400 per game. They’ve struggled against the run and pass, forcing the Atlanta offense to play from behind every week. That’s a difficult way to play, no matter how much talent you have.
Those struggles also fall squarely on Quinn’s shoulders, as he’s been calling the defensive plays this season. Given that responsibility and his pedigree with the Seahawks, there’s no way the Falcons should be playing this poorly.
Arthur Blank’s comments
Despite the Falcons’ struggles, owner Arthur Blank has remained calm. While he’s not happy about the team’s performances, he’s rejected calls to ax his coach by the upcoming bye week.
“I don’t think that’s fair,” Blank said during the league’s Fall Meeting. “I don’t have any specific timetable. Just looking at each game one at a time. It’s the bye week, yes, but it’s not a trigger for making any changes.”
Despite that, he is looking towards his coach for a defensive improvement. “Our defense has not played well, and nobody knows that better than our coach,” Blank continued. “That’s what he’s done for his entire life, a position coach, a coordinator and then a head coach. So, if there were easy answers we would’ve put them in place already. But we’re making adjustments, he’s making adjustments and hopefully, they’ll put us in a better position going forward.”
How much more time does Dan Quinn have?
The Falcons didn’t do their head coach any favors on Sunday, putting in a meek performance against the Los Angeles Rams. Atlanta allowed Jared Goff and company to put up 37 points and over 350 yards in a lopsided defeat.
While it’s unlikely Blank will ax his coach immediately after preaching patience, this performance has to heat up Dan Quinn’s head coaching seat. At this point, the Falcons defense simply has to improve before the bye week. If it doesn’t, Quinn isn’t serving any purpose on the sidelines.