Head Coach Dan Quinn came into the 2019 season having anointed himself as the defensive coordinator of the team. Halfway through the campaign, he has opted to relinquish that responsibility to linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich, a move many Falcons fans will likely consider overdue.
The move apparently began a couple of weeks ago, which has coincided with slightly (very slightly) improved defenses. We missed Dan Quinn’s remarks about Ulbrich earlier in the week, but it appears this is a full-fledged handoff now.
"Jeff Ulbrich has taken on a good lion's share of that," is what DQ said Monday when asked about defensive play-calling. He's been doing this for the last couple of games.— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) November 10, 2019
The primary change that comes with this announcement is that Ulbrich will now take over defensive play calling duties, while Quinn goes back to solely focusing on his responsibilities as the team’s head coach (for now).
Atlanta’s defense has vastly underperformed this season, ranking 24th in the NFL in yards allowed per game. What’s worse is the 31.2 points allowed per game, which is third most behind only the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Ulbrich now gets half of a season to showcase his metal as a defensive coordinator — a tryout of sorts. We don’t know what the future holds — whether he’ll be on the Falcons’ coaching staff next season — but we do know that for the next eight games this is now his show to run.