Mike McCarthy was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers since 2006. He brought the team to the playoffs in 9 of 12 seasons and even won a Super Bowl. He was just fired midseason. A lot more goes into decisions than the record.
The Carolina Panthers, flirting with a wildcard spot just a few weeks ago, just fired a number of defensive coaches. Their 6-6 record isn’t bad, but their play has been. Uninspiring play is definitely attributed to poor coaching, a lack of player development, and poor play-calling. It’s more than their record.
With that said, the Falcons are a putrid 4-8. Look at their present company: Atlanta is tied with teams like the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants. They are just ahead of the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals. There is no comparison of team talent between Atlanta and these other teams. Atlanta has a veteran Pro Bowl quarterback and a Hall of Fame wide receiver, which in itself should get them to more than 4 wins.
Something is clearly broken and it isn’t just missing Keanu Neal. We know injuries hit hard but it doesn’t explain the poor play and lack of development from countless players. When the Falcons needed players to step up, they took two steps back. Vic Beasley, De’Vondre Campbell, Brian Poole, Robert Alford, and Takk McKinley has been liabilities this season. Ryan Schraeder, Tevin Coleman, and most interior linemen look like they shouldn’t be starting.
That’s a lot of top players that aren’t playing like top players. Yesterday’s game showed the Falcons have a lot of quit in them. They aren’t competitive. They aren’t improving. The season is over and we can’t get more snaps for Isaiah Oliver? Alford is a disaster and the Falcons will need to know what they have in Oliver. What is the plan here? I’m having too many flashbacks to Mike Smith, and it’s not just because of incompetent game management.
This is too reminiscent of bad coaching in 2013 and 2014. Dan Quinn is rightfully receiving some criticism and there’s no question he’s on the hot seat. He’s still almost certainly safe through 2019, short of finishing the season with 3 or 4 uncompetitive losses.
Who isn’t safe?
Steve Sarkisian and Marquand Manuel will likely be back. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one go but Quinn probably doesn’t want to swap out two coordinators. Manuel is a great DB coach, but it’s not clear he’s a good defensive coordinator. Sarkisian frustratingly alternates between incompetence and greatness. Farther down the list is a lot of coaches who shouldn’t be back. Keith Armstrong has been in Atlanta for an eternity but the special teams haven’t been an asset for years. Bryant Young was brought in to coach the defensive line and we have seen zero development from a number of key players. Raheem Morris has been the assistant head coach, wide receivers coach, and passing game coordinator for years, but Atlanta has had a lot of problems with drops and an inconsistent passing game. With the atrocious play from the secondary, defensive backs coach Doug Mallory should be on the hot seat as well.
Quinn has to know another bad season won’t be tolerated by Arthur Blank. Atlanta needs to shuffle out some coaches without prior NFL experience at their spot (I’m looking at you, Morris and Bryant Young), and bring in some new blood with a proven track record. If not, the Falcons will probably be looking for a new head coach in a year.