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Dan Quinn needs a win against the Cardinals to save his job

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Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is hanging on by a thread after presiding over the worst defensive performance of his career. Quinn desperately needs a win against the Cardinals on Sunday if he wants to save his job.

Atlanta Falcons v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

We’ve talked about it to death this week, but the 53-32 loss to the Texans we witnessed in Week 5 still stings. It was the worst defensive performance I’ve ever seen as a Falcons fan—I don’t really remember the last 50-burger given up by the team in 2004—and it was embarrassing for all of us. On day when the offense seemed to be getting it together and Koetter finally began making a few adjustments, the defense got destroyed by Deshaun Watson and Will Fuller.

Adding insult to injury were the videos that came out from Houston’s post-game press conferences. Watson was able to break down the entire defensive scheme of the Falcons in about 90 seconds. Texans players called it “predictable”. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah did a video interview where he broke down a few plays where the Falcons dropped eight players into coverage against only three WRs, and gave up a big play every single time.

If it were up to me, I would have fired Dan Quinn for that game. In a must-win game to keep your playoff hopes somewhat realistic and to assure fans and your own players that you can right the ship, Quinn failed in spectacular fashion. That told me everything I needed to know: somewhere along the road, Quinn started coaching scared. He began coaching not to lose, instead of coaching to win. It’s a common occurrence for coaches when they’re afraid to lose their jobs—but once you start down that road, it’s very hard to go back.

Week 6 presents a final chance for Quinn to provide a flicker of hope for this team (and his job security). At 1-4, the Falcons are in a very difficult spot, but they’re not mathematically eliminated from contention yet. I suppose there’s always the chance of a heroic 9-2 run to close out the season that would give Atlanta a 10-6 record and a good shot at the playoffs. Is that likely to happen, though? Absolutely not.

If the Falcons manage to scrape out a win against the Cardinals (1-3-1) on Sunday, it will be a minor step in the right direction. It won’t move the needle for fans, and it shouldn’t, but it will give him a chance to start building some momentum. Whether or not he could harness it is another question, but Atlanta has been pretty streaky under Quinn throughout his tenure.

If Quinn were to lose to Arizona, however, that would likely be the final nail in the coffin. Losing to one of the NFC’s worst squads is bad enough on its own, but that loss would put the Falcons at 1-5 heading into a two-game stretch against the Seahawks and Rams. Realistically, it seems unlikely that the Falcons will win either of those games. If Quinn wants to get a W before the bye, this is the best opportunity.

I don’t think going into the bye at 2-6 is going to save Quinn’s job, but it gives him a better chance than 1-7 coming off a 6-game losing streak. The latter result all but guarantees his departure from the organization, while the former leaves a slight opportunity to hold on. Personally, I think Blank should just get it over with during the bye week unless the team wins the next three games. Wins against Seattle and Los Angeles—two quality teams—would be a big step in the right direction.

We’ll see what happens on Sunday. The Cardinals appear to be a good matchup for the Falcons. Hopefully Atlanta can get back in the win column for the first time since Week 2. If not, Quinn’s tenure with the team will be all but officially over.