Well, that went well.
After a honeymoon phase for interim head coach Raheem Morris and some legitimate wondering if the longtime assistant had somehow fixed the Atlanta Falcons, a patently demoralizing loss to the archrival New Orleans Saints, with..
/pauses with anger
...Taysom Hill behind center, might’ve put that to rest.
The Falcons were coming off a bye week, where Morris and his team would’ve had his most time yet to really entrench their own ideas and shape the team in Morris’s interim vision. It’s not to say losing to a good football team should sink his chances to keep the job like some were wondering he might, but losing in such a pathetic way and enabling the team you hate the most to troll you on social media is prohibitive.
Sunday, the Falcons were just as ultimately pathetic as they were under Dan Quinn. There was no difference in the team that blew that horrid lead to Dallas and couldn’t figure out how to recover an onside kick and the one who couldn’t score a touchdown against a team that was starting a veteran quarterback who hadn’t taken starting snaps at the position since he was in college.
Sure, Julio Jones got hurt and the defense held its own until the floodgates opened. But seeing Matt Ryan tossed about like a wilted scarecrow in a Category 5 hurricane is inexcusable. Watching an offense shove a LaserDisc to a 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray player is even worse. Losing to the Saints in 2020 is whatever; getting absolutely embarrassed after nearly a month of seemingly improved play probably shouldn’t have been as surprising as it was for a team that started out 0-5 and fired its head coach and general manager.
That’s the Falcons for you. Losing Sunday ensures a better draft pick, and that’s just not something to take for granted. More wins would’ve kept pushing them down the draft board and might’ve given the organization an inkling that they’d done what they’d needed to do to right the ship. As much as Morris is deserving for a chance at a head coaching gig in the NFL, the Falcons might be best suited to still press the hard-reset button.
If something happens, Morris gets the job, gets along well with the new GM and he brings in his own offensive coordinator, then so be it. He’s done some definite good things since taking over; the defense is definitely better. But the offense has done very little to inspire much confidence this year under Dirk Koetter, and it’s clear his second stint with the team has been a mistake for both parties. Either Koetter’s scheme isn’t getting it done, or he’s not the right fit to lead this particular offense. But you knew that already.
We’ve been sitting in this weird world where the Falcons still have games to play but nowhere to go. Thinking of playoffs wasn’t the worst thing in the world with those extra seeds this year, and it’s fair to say the Falcons are much better than their record. But they’re also 3-7 and fourth in the division. Trying to expect much of anything from Atlanta right now may not be the best route to go down.
The team is starting to compile its list of GMs to interview and you can bet that individual hire will want a say in the next head coach. Morris absolutely deserves an interview and, if the team can bounce back after Sunday’s mess, could make a good case.
Any sort of momentum gathered in 2020 should not convince anyone this team is okay as it is, though. It’s just not; good teams don’t lose games like that on Sunday. The Falcons’ offense cannot fall apart every time Jones gets hurt. If one player is so vital for its success, and that player is not the quarterback, something has to change.
The Falcons still aren’t very good. They’re not horrible - they’re a special brand of mediocre. There are plenty of good players on this roster, proven veterans and promising young guys abound. Morris has fielded a mostly better team than we saw under Quinn. But it’s still a mess when it matters the most. Almost blowing that lead to Denver should prove that.
C’est la vie. We all figured in October when Quinn and Dimitroff got fired that this team was headed toward new coaches and front office executives. Even though some wins have come in since then, I’m still not so sure that’s not absolutely where we’re still headed.