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No, the Falcons haven't quit on Dan Quinn

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This is what happens when your team is bad.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

We search for stories when our favorite teams are bad. They can't simply be a bad team playing bad football, as the Falcons have been for stretches the last several weeks and were all day against the Panthers. There has to be some underlying reason animating it.

That's how you get stories like this, where nobody with a team connection or a name discusses whether Dan Quinn has lot this team:

Obviously, if writers are discussing it and there's no players or staff saying it anonymously, there's no concrete reason to think it's happening. But it will persist through the end of the year because there's no obvious reason this Falcon team is playing so poorly, and acknowledging that a first year head coach isn't the primary problem involves some unpleasant ruminations on the state of the roster. I believed for a long time that the Falcons were more talented than their play has shown, but I don't think I can believe that any longer. Dan Quinn, Kyle Shanahan, and Richard Smith have not been tremendous coaches thus far, I'd argue, but I don't think for a second that Arthur Blank is going to look at this team and hold Dan Quinn responsible. I think the Falcons are going to turn over players, position coaches and even Shanahan (at this point) to try to right the ship, but Quinn is going to get his chance with a team that is hopefully better than this.

Of course, even without that convenient story line, this is still a lousy football team playing ever-lousier football, and Dan Quinn's leash may well be shorter than many of us would have expected. He and the front office, whoever may be in it, are probably going to get all of 2016 to at least show tangible progress than gets fans invested in 2017, or they stand a very real chance of being kicked to the curb. That's what happens when dollars meet expectations.

The Falcons, of course, are on their way to a truly terrible loss against the Panthers, the kind that almost certainly will mean players and staffers are looking for new jobs this offseason. Just don't expect it to be Quinn.