In the offseason, there were a few too many times I nervously laughed about the similarities between the 2019 offseason and the doomed 2014 season. 2014 was, of course, the end of Mike Smith’s time with the Falcons.
Let me set the scene: After a strong playoff run, the 2013 Falcons are bombarded with injuries across the board. The team got rid of old coaches and had a renewed focus on toughness. They focused on new linemen additions. The Falcons got back to the basics of blocking, tackling, and punching other teams in the mouth. There were a lot of empty mantras and motivational shirts. Dirk Koetter was there. The expensive fixes failed to fix much of anything. The team was sloppy, unmotivated, confused, disorganized, and disinterested. There were too many bone-headed decisions across the board.
It feels pretty familiar. The Falcons needed only to beat the Carolina Panthers at home to make the playoffs. Of course, they lost 34-3 and Smith was immediately fired.
Some things obviously differ. The Falcons cheated by pumping in fake crowd noise to help the league’s 32nd ranked defense. They couldn’t even cheat correctly.
Quinn is obviously a different type of coach. Regardless, the results have been the same. The Falcons have only briefly flashed defensive competency. The team too often relies on Matt Ryan and only Matt Ryan. They can’t run the ball. We see the same execution mistakes week after week.
It feels too much like Arthur Blank replaced Smith with a younger, shinier, balder version. As we see Quinn failing to replicate his early wins in the same way as Smith, it’s time to set the Dan Quinn Doomsday Clock to 2014 Mike Smith. The Falcons can definitely get better. It’s no given the players can do enough to keep Quinn in Flowery Branch into 2020, or even the bye week.