The Falcons are trying to pull themselves out of a very, very deep hole. The team was put there by, among others, the former duo of Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff. It was a team project, sure, but one of them is more to blame. It has been a fun, chicken-and-the-egg type of argument wondering if Quinn didn’t coach well enough or if Dimitroff didn’t build the roster well enough. In fact, there are probably hundreds of thousands of comments on this very site debating exactly that.
We may never have a true answer to that question, or the depth of the problems behind the scenes, but we have some pretty strong hints about the league’s perception of who is to blame.
Dan Quinn was one of the hottest head coaching candidates out there until he withdrew his name from contention by announcing he intends to stay in Dallas. He was rumored or reported as one of a handful of finalists for multiple job openings, including Chicago, Denver and New York. It seems destined Quinn will return to the head coaching ranks in the NFL in 2023, whether it’s taking over for Mike McCarthy in Dallas or being scooped up by another team.
Assuming Quinn does again become an NFL head coach, it will be quite a miraculous turnaround since being fired mid-season in 2020. Indeed, he engineered a stunning turnaround to a Dallas defense that was ruined by Mike Nolan in 2020, which has helped his stock considerably. If he builds on that in 2022, he’ll probably be one of the consensus top candidates again.
In contrast to Quinn’s red-hot candidacy, Thomas Dimitroff has apparently met with an ice-cold market. As of the time of this writing, there had been over 40 interviews between the Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, and New York Giants. Unless there’s a report we’ve missed along the way, Dimitroff hasn’t been interviewed for any of those openings yet.
Dimitroff had one interview reported with the Detroit Lions in late December 2020. Nothing since. That is quite the icy reception for the former two-time NFL Executive of the Year, especially because we would have thought his 2020 A.J. Terrell pick would’ve helped remind teams of the real success he sometimes had in the first round. It’s not clear he’s putting himself in the running for any of those jobs, to be fair, as Dimitroff has been on a consistent media blitz. That has involved many podcast appearances and reportedly includes filming a television show, which is quite the change of pace for a guy who stopped talking to the media during the season when the team played poorly.
Both Quinn and Dimitroff are gone from Atlanta. They share the blame for burying the team in our eyes. It would be impossible to assign blame accurately for what happened with the Falcons these past few seasons, but decision-makers across the league seem to be showing who they think is most accountable.