With the Falcons firing Keith Armstrong, Steve Sarkisian and Marquand Manuel in one fell swoop, a small footnote caught the eye of many people: head coach Dan Quinn would act as the defensive coordinator for the team in 2019.
This news was met with excitement that Quinn - once a fantastic defensive coordinator for the Seahawks - could finally take over those responsibilities again. However, the flip side of this decision is one that now presents the team with a critical decision to make.
For most of last year and this year, Quinn has allowed Marquand Manuel to call the defense while he focused on the traditional responsibilities of a head coach. In that time, Falcons fans have seen Dan Quinn struggle with clock management, timeout management and game scenario management. It’s not that he’s been awful, but he’s not gotten demonstrably better and there have been some clear situations where his management in-game has possibly led directly to some losses. Now, Quinn is set to take on the play calling for the defense once again, adding more responsibilities back to his plate.
I love the idea of Quinn coordinating the defense, but the team absolutely must hire a game management coach for the 2019 season.
Let’s be honest: the team probably could have afforded to bring one on board this year. Quinn has proven to be a very capable vision setter and is a coach players love to play for, but his glaring weakness has been game day management. The front office - and Quinn - can use his 2019 defensive coordinator responsibilities as a perfectly reasonable excuse for why they’ll bring in someone to manage the games. It’s the perfect cover. It allows them to save face while addressing a big need the team has had for a while now.
This move may not happen, but it desperately needs to. It’s clear Quinn is taking a hands-on approach with what he does best. It’s time for him to take his hands off the thing he does worst.