The Atlanta Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff on Sunday after a seven-point home loss to the rebuilding Carolina Panthers. The loss dropped the Falcons to 0-5 and marked the third consecutive season in which they lost at least four of their first five games.
While offseason simulations and the betting markets were not this low on an Atlanta team that finished 6-2 over the second half of the 2019 season, it’s time to face facts and ask the “what went wrong” question about this team and what it can do to be better in these twilight years of Matt Ryan’s career.
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The Falcons Made a Mistake By Not Elevating Kyle Shanahan to Head Coach After 2016
This is certainly not something I thought at the time, but given what has transpired over the past few years, it’s become pretty clear that allowing a great offensive coach to leave (because he wasn’t already your head coach) is a blunder — one that teams such as Minnesota are finding out in real time, as well.
It’s a pretty solved problem that offense is more stable than defense, and furthermore, defense depends on a number of things sufficiently happening at the same time and a collection of matchups, which are largely the control of the opposing offense, falling into place. As we’ll talk about below, variance in the form of injuries and failed draft picks have curtailed a defense that, to Dimitroff’s credit, had the requisite talent to compete for most of the past three-plus seasons.