At this point, as morbid as it seems, we’re all waiting to see when the Falcons will make the kind of sweeping changes their record suggests is necessary. You can blame the team’s talent, you can blame the team’s injuries, you can blame the team’s struggling depth in the face of those injuries, and you can blame a reputation-obsessed organization for not taking care of the on-field items that bolster that reputation, but the coaching staff continues to be the easiest trouble spot to remedy and the one most likely to satisfy fans in the short term.
Arthur Blank does not seem keen to make that change. Part of that is the practical knowledge that handing the keys to Raheem Morris or Dirk Koetter is unlikely to make the kind of difference that would actually lead to an improbable playoff run or even a ton of wins in the second half, which means he’d have to fire a coach and a man he obviously respects for little more than tossing red meat to deeply upset fans. The less practical part of the decision comes, I suspect, from knowing it would be on Blank to admit that he was very wrong in keeping Dan Quinn and company around at the end of 2019 and that the decision may have cratered a season where Matt Ryan and Julio Jones could still have been very productive, injuries to Jones notwithstanding. There is nothing fun or enjoyable for Blank about making that decision, especially because at 0-4 the Falcons are all but mathematically dead in very deep waters.
That’s probably why it seems like that decision is going to wait at least one more week.
0-4 for the 1st time since 99... DQ just talked about how his team’s 2nd QTR can’t be like the 1st... He did meet w/ Arthur after the game but said they never talked about his future. Division play starts Sunday w/ Carolina. Fans will be in the Benz for the 1st time this season— Emily Gagnon (@Emily_Gagnon) October 6, 2020
Dan Quinn losing streaks since 2015:— Matt Chernoff (@RealMattlanta) October 6, 2020
4 in a row in 2020
6 in a row in 2019
5 in a row in 2018
3 in a row in 2018
3 in a row in 2017
6 in a row in 2015
But Arthur Blank needs more time to decide if Quinn is the right guy for the job. Unbelievable.
Dan Quinn he and Arthur Blank got together primarily to wish Damontae Kazee well after the Achilles injury. Nothing about his status as coach.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) October 6, 2020
Let’s be clear: Blank would be perfectly justified in firing Dan Quinn before you read this in the morning. He would be justified because another franchise has already made that kind of change, which clears the path for him. He would be justified because this continues to be an abysmal defensive team years after a guy hired for his mastery of defense should have been able to coax some real improvement out of the squad. He would be justified because this team was never supposed to be 0-4 after they started 1-7 a year ago, because it’s honestly not great for the owner of a franchise who has affirmed his commitment to win over and over again and once enjoyed the strong support of the fanbase to be seen as someone who cares more about a personal relationship than his team’s record and future, however understandable that sentiment may be.
But I suspect Blank is looking at the tangible upside of firing Quinn now and the questions it will raise about his ability to weigh the team’s immediate future and deciding to punt. I suspect he’s considering the injuries a mitigating factor and that the oddly specific two game timeframe after the loss to the Bears came from Blank or someone close to him, and that Dan Quinn will get his chance to beat the Panthers and string things thing out a little further.
At the end of the day we don’t know the reason and won’t know the reason unless Blank tells us, leading us to merely speculate whether he doesn’t want to be seen as rash, doesn’t want to admit keeping this coaching staff was a mistake post-2019, or legitimately believes the Falcons can beat long odds and get back to the playoffs after starting 0-4. All we know is that barring a major overnight change of heart, we’ll be watching this team try to get a victory again with Dan Quinn at the helm in Week 5, and this time it’ll be with (some number) of fans in the seat.