The Falcons started 0-5 for the first time since 1997, one season after starting 1-7 and with a mandate to make the playoffs or else in 2020. There aren’t many teams in the league that would brook that kind of performance without shaking things up, and at least it appears Arthur Blank and the team have run out of patience.
It appears that the reports that Atlanta’s Week 4 and 5 games were critical were correct, because Jeff Schultz at The Athletic reports that the Falcons intend to fire Dan Quinn early this week.
The Falcons' firing of Dan Quinn has been all but finalized and an announcement could come Monday or Tuesday, a source told @TheAthletic. The Falcons have started 0-5 for the first time since 1997 and Quinn is 14-23 since 2018. @TheAthleticNFL— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) October 11, 2020
Schultz is a plugged-in reporter and columnist who has spent years covering this team, so I’m 100% confident this will prove to be accurate. The Falcons did not make a move over the first four weeks of the season, but reports circulated from Schultz and others that Dan Quinn needed to turn things around against the Packers and Panthers to keep his job. Instead, the Falcons put up two pathetic offensive performances and weren’t much better on defense, falling all the way to 0-5 and coming up with no answers for their continued failures.
The Dan Quinn era in Atlanta will be better evaluated with some distance, but it will be remembered for its stellar highs (a Super Bowl the Falcons almost won, a 2017 season that was one play away from a NFC Conference Championship berth) and all-too-frequent lows, including second half collapses in 2015 and 2018 and putrid starts in 2019 and 2020. Quinn was beloved by significant portions of his locker room and has drawn frequent praise for his leadership and decency as a human being, but he has also drawn significant, justified criticism for his awful decisions with coordinators, shaky in-game decision making, and inability to coach up a team (and defense in particular) that had plenty of talent on paper but regularly failed to deliver on their promise. It was time for him to go, no matter how you felt about him.
We don’t know who the interim head coach will be just yet, but my bet would be on Raheem Morris. The Falcons will have to start thinking critically about their future and who is going to be a part of it right now, because they have nothing else to play for with their playoff hopes extinguished. We’ll wish Dan Quinn well wherever he goes, but we hope this is the kind of change that begets more significant change and puts the Falcons back on the path to winning in 2021 and beyond.