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.