When you assemble an expensive roster that analysts and executives alike largely agree is studded with legitimate talent, you can’t fail. If you do fail, as teams like the Falcons and Browns have done in disappointing 2019 seasons, the blame is always going to fall squarely on the head coach.
That’s what’s happening to Dan Quinn, who is very much on the hot seat as I write this. Quinn is a good man and, by all accounts, a coach beloved by his players, who have fiercely stood by him this week as calls for a coaching change have intensified. He also is the man who cleared out all his coordinators to give him a shot at sticking around, assumed control of the defense, and presided over controversial decisions to keep Vic Beasley (who has done better overall but still isn’t impacting games as a pass rusher) and add Dirk Koetter (who is only just finding his legs as the team’s play caller on offense). His team is 1-5, on a brutal four game losing streak against some of the NFL’s lesser lights, and now has matchups against a reeling but pissed off Rams team and a Seahawks team that is absolutely on fire. Realistically, he needs a miracle turnaround to save his job, and that miracle turnaround looks less and less likely by the week.
It’s little surprise that Falcons fans, who were all but promised a good team this year, have largely turned on DQ pretty fiercely. It’s also not surprising that fans are reading the tea leaves—including the reports that Arthur Blank was giving Quinn until the Week 9 bye to figure things out—and deciding that there’s going to be an interim head coach in Week 10.
Nearly 60% of fans we polled in our weekly FanPulse believe Arthur Blank will buck tradition and part ways with Quinn at the bye, seeking some sort of recovery in the second half of the season that will get people excited for a new staff and new hope in 2020. Close to 20% believe it won’t happen until after the bye, likely at the end of the season, with around 10% saying fired before (which isn’t happening) and 10% saying he’ll survive to coach another season (which, again, would require something of a miracle).
Personally, I tend to lean toward the end of the season, both because Blank is loathe to do midseason firings and I think the Falcons probably have the kind of surprising win in them one of the next two weeks that will convince him to not swing the axe. But I also think the firing is probably inevitable because of how bad this team has been, particularly on defense with Quinn at the helm, which doesn’t feel survivable.
If you want to feel even better, our national question of the week for FanPulse concerned the coach of the year near the midway point, and fans strongly went for...Kyle Shanahan! Life is garbage.