Ever since the Falcons first started skidding, there has been a ton of scrutiny on Dan Quinn. Thomas Dimitroff was once the chief object of ire for this Falcons team, but Quinn is the man right now as the team looks listless and keeps losing. With Matt Ryan in his mid-30s and a lot of anxiety about this team’s immediate future, it’s not unnatural to fear that Quinn isn’t the guy after all and Atlanta’s headed for another painful shakeup if he’s not.
As we’ve said since very early in the year, though, Arthur Blank is not going to have this conversation this year. He’s seen the injuries pile up for this football team, and he’s seen two quality seasons in a row from Quinn, including the Super Bowl berth he never got from any of his previous coaching hires. He’s a big believer in Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff and the structure in place, and one injury-marred lousy season was never going going to shake him of that belief, no matter how much his patience is ultimately tested.
That’s why it’s not a surprise to see Blank going to bat for both men in an otherwise colorful, scathing read from The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz.
On whether he is losing faith in the two primary members of football operations department, Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who built a roster that only two years ago went to the Super Bowl and made the playoffs the past two seasons: “I haven’t lost any faith in Coach Quinn or Thomas. They’ll do the evaluations that’s needed.”
Has he lost faith in any members of the coaching staff: “(Quinn and Dimitroff) always evaluate at the end of the year. That’s what they do. Whether we’re 16-0 or 0-16, they’ll do that again.”
To be clear, I think a productive offseason and some changes to the coaching staff should get this team back to winning football games, but if it doesn’t Quinn is absolutely in trouble during and after the 2019 season. His assistants are very much in trouble right now, because no matter how patient your ownership, front office and head coach are, failure of this magnitude doesn’t happen without some change, and the offense and defense have both been brutally bad for long stretches of the year. It would be a mild surprise if Marquand Manuel and Steve Sarkisian both returned in 2019, to be frank.
We’ll spend more time talking about that, but for now, make peace with the idea of Quinn and Dimitroff returning whether you want them to or not. With that established, the Falcons still need to make real changes to this team to avoid falling into a pit of despair and crappy football, as they’ve so neatly done in 2018.