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Dan Quinn: Falcons may be making personnel changes, particularly at CB

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Kendall Sheffield could be stealing reps from Isaiah Oliver, Damontae Kazee, or both soon enough.

Tennessee Titans v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Even Dan Quinn might have a breaking point. After watching his defense pile up the poor performances, especially a brutal 50 burger at the hands of the Texans, it appears he may be ready to make some personnel changes.

Okay, maybe just one, and maybe it’s one that is almost comical in light of his refusal to sub out a clearly ailing and ineffective Robert Alford in 2018 in a lost season, but it still counts. It appears that Dan Quinn is ready...to get Kendall Sheffield some more playing time.

Sheffield is the only specific example Quinn provides, though all joking aside he’s obviously not the only player who could step into a larger role. The Falcons have barely used Jermaine Grace, John Cominsky, Jordan Miller, and especially Deadrin Senat, and if he’s dissatisfied with what he’s getting from his starters, he can start bleeding their snaps to give those players more time. With very few starters enjoy consistent quality play right now, even mixing it up a little would be a welcome move.

But again, Sheffield is the one specific example. The Falcons benched Isaiah Oliver at the end of the game in favor of Sheffield, a size and speed guy who has been turning in some quality performances on special teams and has clearly caught Quinn’s eye at cornerback in his limited snaps. With Damontae Kazee potentially banged up and Oliver struggling on a weekly basis, it appears Sheffield will step into a larger role sooner than anticipated. I am legitimately excited to see what he can do.

My frustration is that this is the kind of move you make when you’re trying to save your season, and this season already feels beyond saving. The fact that Sheffield’s playing time is going to come at the expense, potentially, of two young cornerbacks who need the time on the field is also aggravating. The Falcons flatly refused to get Isaiah Oliver starter’s snaps in 2018, even when the season was out of reach and Alford was struggling with what we later learned was an injury, and that lack of development time certainly feels relevant to the problems with quick processing that he’s had to this point. There is, however, no point in pretending that Oliver has played well to this point, or shown the kind of flashes of brilliant promise that would justify giving him 99% of the snaps going forward.

All will be well if Sheffield steps in and performs well, helping to stabilize this secondary and showing promise for the future for this Falcons team. You just hope that he’s not the only guy who will get a shot with this defense falling apart.