Former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith wasn't always unpopular. Sure, as the Falcons limped to a disappointing finish last season, his fate was seemingly sealed. But in the wake of Mike Vick's incarceration and the subsequent implosion of the franchise, Smith was praised and celebrated.
Over time Smitty lost his luster. Nobody questioned his character as a man. His coaching decisions, on the other hand, were highly questionable. Fans stopped giving him the benefit of the doubt. And at that point, even the small mistakes get blown way out of proportion.
Dan Quinn finds himself in a remarkably different place. He's taking over a franchise that isn't completely broken. There are building blocks already in place. For the foreseeable future, he will get some latitude. It's the honeymoon period, if you will. Such was the case at Friday Night Lights. Credit to Kelsey Conway for the quote.
"I was so thrilled to get connected with the fans. I can't wait for our team to feed off their energy down at the (Georgia) Dome," Quinn said. "Coming off the ball, both sides and how loud it can be. When the team connects with the fans, it's such an awesome feeling, and I can't wait to be a part of that."
There are going to be disappointing moments this season. Heck, there might be a lot of disappointing moments. Eventually Ricardo Allen is going to get trucked in run support. Eventually Paul Worrilow is going to get burned trying to cover a tight end in space. Eventually Dave is going to get arrested for disorderly conduct. But with any luck, most fans will stomach the growing pains, allowing Quinn to implement his process.