Falcons Fire Dan Quinn, Thomas Dimitroff

The writing was on the wall, but it’s official now. The Falcons have fired both their head coach Dan Quinn as well as general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the team announced Sunday night.

It was clear to just about everyone that Quinn was going to be fired any week now, but the firing of Dimitroff was less widely speculated on. With the house cleaning, team president and CEO Rich McKay will takeover running the football operations for now, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweeted. Quinn is now the second head coach to be shown the door after Bill O’Brien was let go by the Texans earlier this week.

It’s been a remarkable fall from grace for a head coach who was moments away from winning a Super Bowl less than four years ago. It’s been all downhill since then, and that NFC championship team fell apart rapidly. They managed to go 10-6 the following year but were 7-9 in each of the past two, and of course started this season 0-5.

Quinn’s seat was scorching hot last year, but he managed to save his job temporarily as the Falcons closed the season strong. The Falcons are now in a very interesting spot as a franchise, as Matt Ryan and Julio Jones aren’t getting any younger at 35 and 31 respectively. Those guys likely have a couple of high level years left, but a new regime may be interested in looking toward the future.

Quinn developed a reputation as a defensive guru during his time with the Seahawks, but during the Falcons’ most successful times it was always the offense carrying the team. Quinn’s defenses became progressively worse, making the situation untenable.

He coordinated Seattle’s legendary defenses in 2013 and 2014, winning Super Bowl XLVIII with the team. Dimitroff was the Patriots’ director of college scouting before owner Arthur Blank hired him to be Atlanta’s GM in 2008. His first draft pick was none other than Ryan, and his firing ends one of the longest recent front office tenures.

No interim coach has been announced, but at 0-5 there’s very little hope of a postseason berth. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, recently a head coach with the Bucs, would be a natural candidate. With Ryan, Jones, and Calvin Ridley there’s still plenty of talent at the skill positions, but the rest of the roster is in need of a major overhaul.

Quinn finished his run at a nearly even 43-42 through five-plus seasons as the Falcons’ head coach. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on all the fallout, and if you clink the link to the team’s announcement at the top you can read quotes from Blank and McKay on the firings.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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38 comments on “Falcons Fire Dan Quinn, Thomas Dimitroff

  1. korn_cakes33

    While I understand it, shocked TD got canned. He built a great roster. He just got some bad coaches. Someone will scoop him up this off-season

  2. Oooof

    If not now, it wasn’t going to happen during the season. I respect Blank’s sense of loyalty, and Quinn seems like a good guy, but at some point you’re not showing enough self-respect as an organization if you refuse to move on.

    • Ak185

      To be honest, I was not surprised in the slightest at that outcome. I know it sounds revisionist, but as I was watching, I said to those watching with me that I thought Atlanta would lose that game.

      New England played so poorly in the first half that they contributed more to their deficit than Atlanta did. Atlanta was pretty terribly coached that game and neither Quinn nor Shanahan ever seemed to be ahead of what the Patriots were doing as much as how poorly the Patriots were playing. I know that sounds strange, but I’m saying that Atlanta pretty much lucked into that lead, convinced that they were beating their opponent decisively, when the Patriots were really just being sloppy. I believed at the time that Atlanta’s presence there was the result of a fluky schedule and extreme offensive talent, but not terribly impressive coaching. I think the last few years have shown that to be the case.

      Quinn ran that team into the ground and for all the praise Shanahan received as a playcaller, his inability or utter refusal to make in game adjustments to his game plan surfaced again in another Super Bowl. Watching that game, I was calling Atlanta’s plays on my couch with some buddies, and we are definitely not NFL coaches.

      What I am saying is that these issues were present all along under Quinn. His roster bailed him out early, but as it got depleted through age and injury, there was nothing left to save Atlanta’s competitiveness in later seasons.

  3. jb19

    Ryan hasn’t played at what I would call a “high level” for a couple years now.

    • Ak185

      Have you just not watched the Falcons? Ryan is not who he used to be, but who has been performing for that team if not Ryan? He, Ridley, J. Jones, D. Jones, and Jarrett have been quite literally the only valuable players on that roster for a few years. I am highly curious to know what your definition of quality quarterback play looks like.

        • zpgreen

          @DVail – You just named the top 4 MVP candidates. Not every player can be or needs to be an MVP player. Matt Ryan is still a top 12 QB in the NFL.

      • Matthew Heywood

        The problem has been the defense and Quinn is a supposed defensive coach

  4. brave new world

    Hire Eric Biemieny and get a real defensive guy, as the coordinator. Someone like a Todd Boles, to be the coordinator.

    • Michael Chaney

      Todd Bowles wouldn’t leave what he’s got in Tampa unless it’s for another head coaching job

    • arthur blank_for owner

      I’ve been banging the drum for Eric Bieniemy and Louis Riddick for GM….but with BOB getting fired in Houston I don’t see why Bieniemy wouldn’t choose Watson to build around for a good 10 years. I was hoping BOB would last one more season lol….oh well

      • Special Agent

        Not a Falcons’ fan but I don’t hate that proposal at all for them. EB is a bright star and Riddick is a smart dude. Mike Mayock has shown some GM potential with the Raiders so why not Riddick!

        As for EB, why go to Houston, even with the star QB in Watson, after BOB burned all that draft capital.

  5. Ak185

    It was interesting to see who was going to go first between O’Brien and Quinn, and who deserved it more. On one hand, you have O’Brien, with much greater recent success and decently thought of as far as scheming goes, but who is hated by his coworkers and is generally bad in other areas of being a head coach. On the other, you have Quinn, who had greater success but much longer ago, is beloved by his coworkers, and generally regarded as a pretty poor coach in regards to scheming and management. Interesting hypothetical for talking heads on sports talk shows-who deserved to go first?

    More on topic, though: my personal feeling is that Blank was going to let Quinn finish the year coaching, and then fire both him and Dimitroff. I think he was holding on to them to be patient and because the players liked them and played hard for them. However, as we and Blank know, that can only take you so far. I would wager that he was going to give Quinn one last chance, and after the Cowboys game, he made up his mind (particularly when Blank seemingly called out Quinn in a postgame show regarding the onside kick debacle) to let him go, but to let him finish the year gracefully. After the loss yesterday, he decided that the decision needed to be immediate, and that the team in its current state did not have much to salvage anyway.

    • wagner13

      Yeah, we all know Blank to be a loyal owner, but I believe holding on to Quinn any longer would simply be showing signs of stubbornness. The team is clearly going nowhere, with the offense significantly regressing and the defense a complete disaster without elite talent outside of a select few players.

      Quinn has not done his job to rectify the defense and 2016 seemed to be a fairly lucky run to the big game. That 6-2 finish in 2019 was one of the worst possible outcomes for the Falcons, as it not only cost them in draft compensation, but justified the decision to being back Quinn for another go

  6. crosseyedlemon

    Maybe Quinn can join the Braves organization now that he is fried.

  7. case7187

    They need to go in full rebuild and if they do they should trade those guys so they at least get a chance to end their careers on a high note you could easily get a 2nd and 4th for Jones maybe even a first you could probably get a 3rd or 4th for Ryan (imo he’s highly overrated but some bottom team desperate enough Jets)

    • goldenmisfit

      I really hope that was a joke.g Bill O’Brien mortgaged Houston’s future for an underachieving left tackle and trade away a top three wide receiver and coached Houston to a zero and five record. Never should have been the general manager and probably should have been fired from Houston at least three years ago.

  8. bradthebluefish

    Fire sale. Get what you can from your offensive players and start over.

  9. of9376

    Big question is do they trade Matt Ryan? He hasn’t got it done in ATL and they need to rebuild the entire team essentially.

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