The feeling of disappointment is a difficult one to ignore. In some cases, it is also hard to explain. For the 2019 Atlanta Falcons, that sense of discontent is arrived to from several directions.
The elephant in the room at the moment is a 1-6 record that leaves the Falcons in last place currently in the NFC South and one of the worst teams in the league. Even in their one win on the season so far, they still were excruciatingly close to Eagles QB Carson Wentz completing a game-winning drive.
Want to run down what is wrong with this team so far? If you have a weak stomach, prepare yourself. After seven games, the Falcons are:
- 29th in rushing
- 31st in scoring defense
- 27th in total defense
- Last in total sacks
- 30th in QB hits allowed
- Last in team penalties
- 29th in turnover margin
- Last in third down defense
- 28th in red zone defensive percentage
Catch your breath for a second, because that is a lot to digest. The Falcons are in the bottom of the league in a bunch of stats which plays an important hand in the team coming up short on a weekly basis. As a result, the team looks completely outmatched and out-coached every game, and that usually means a final outcome that is embarrassing to discuss at times.
Fingers are pointed everywhere. To head coach Dan Quinn, to the front office, to quarterback Matt Ryan, to the defense, back to Quinn, to the offensive line, and circles back around to Quinn once again. I wrote prior to the season how Quinn decided to take matters into his own hands and why that can lead to prosperity or a massive dumpster fire that is too difficult to contain. Well, here we are. After seven weeks, the Falcons find themselves staring at a future of rebuilding instead of chasing a Super Bowl championship.
With so many issues at once, it is hard to pinpoint what may be deemed as the “biggest” or the “most pressing” issue. Coming into the season, the Falcons were viewed as talented on both sides of the ball and even as dark-horse contenders in the eyes of many. I was one of those individuals who thought very highly of the team, with a clear vision of them making a deep postseason run. But what we have seen transpired so far is a complete mess. This is a team woeful in many areas.
Just pick a loss so far this season. The season opener against the Vikings saw the team lose with Minnesota just attempting 10 passes the entire game. In Houston, the defense allowed (checks notes) 592 total yards and 53 points. In Arizona the next week, Ryan was 30-of-36 for 356 yards and four touchdowns with no turnovers and yet was on the losing end. This past contest against the Rams at home was somewhat a culmination of the first seven weeks where the team made a mockery of themselves in front of their home crowd.
With a recent trade of former starter Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots, the team appears to be fully embracing the fact that it may be time to start building anew again. The ever-revolving rumors of Quinn having the word ‘former’ in front of his head coaching title are as loud as they have ever been. Numerous players are also rumored to be traded during the season or by season’s end, and fans have already clamored their personal choices for the next head coach and possible general manager in Atlanta. The hopes of the summer are all gone.
Face it, there is no righting the ship in a matter of weeks, which is all Atlanta has left in 2019. Sure, they may win a couple more games here and there, but this is a fix in the form of complete remodeling. It may have to start at the top with the decision makers and work its way down to the roster from there. That window of opportunity for the Atlanta Falcons at the moment, meanwhile, is slammed shut. All that’s left is a house on fire.