Earlier this season, it seemed like Dan Quinn’s fate with the Falcons was sealed. After countless embarrassing losses, there was no way Arthur Blank could keep the head coach who failed to make the playoffs two years in a row.
Since then, the Falcons have beat two of the NFC’s top teams, both on the road, and have walloped the Carolina Panthers twice. There are still confounding losses, most recently to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the team has shown a lot that was missing earlier this season.
With their play down the stretch, it made some sense to cool off Quinn’s hot seat. Per Ian Rapoport, Quinn’s seat is a medium heat, likely decided in the remaining games.
As we keep an eye on coaches on the hot seat, this year — maybe as much as any — owners are watching how teams close it out on the field: The #Falcons (undecided), the #Jaguars (likely back, pending the finish), the #Browns (leaning back, barring a brutal end) are in focus.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 22, 2019
This may feel surprising, but this same situation played out with Mike Smith. Similar rumors leaked, suggesting Smith could keep his job if he wins the final game of the season, which would narrowly push the Falcons into the playoffs. They lost 34-3 and finished with a 6-10 record, missing out on the playoffs two years in a row.
The NFC South is much more competitive in 2019, so a 7-9 finish won’t get Atlanta into the playoffs. But it could get Dan Quinn a last chance. With that said, there are only two games remaining, and both look very winnable. The Falcons face off with the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16, and finish the season in Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers in Week 17.