Dan Quinn

Falcons To Keep Dan Quinn, Thomas Dimitroff

The Falcons will be making lots of changes this offseason, but they won’t be in the hunt for a new head coach or general manager. On Friday, the Falcons announced that they’ll retain both Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff in 2020. 

However, they have made one significant change – secondary coach and assistant head coach Raheem Morris has been named as the Falcons’ new defensive coordinator. The move will go into effect immediately after the Falcons’ season finale.

Quinn and Dimitroff will return next year, though they’ll both report directly to Falcons CEO Rich McKay, who will continue to report to owner Arthur Blank. Blank, per the press release, “will retain oversight of the football operation.”

The decision to keep the duo doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given their late season success. The Falcons were disappointing on the whole, but they are riding a three-game winning streak heading into their season finale against the Buccaneers.

Quinn’s seat starting heating up back in November, when the Falcons got off to an atrocious 1-7 start. At the time, Quinn’s defense ranked near the bottom of the league in just about every defensive category, with nearly 400 yards of total offense allowed per game. Things have turned around recently – the Falcons held the Saints to nine points in a Week 10 win and capped the Niners at just 22 points en route to a December upset.

In the 2016 season, Quinn led the Falcons to the Super Bowl, though their painful collapse cost them their first Lombardi Trophy. His club followed up with a 10-6 mark in the following season, but they’ve been on a downhill slide ever since. In 2020, Quinn will return for a sixth season at the helm, giving him an opportunity to right the ship.

Dimitroff has served as the Falcons’ GM since the 2008 season with mixed results, though he is responsible for drafting team pillars including Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, with the latter coming to Atlanta via a king’s ransom of picks. He’ll stay for a 12th season as Falcons GM, though more changes could be coming to the front office:

Every year we evaluate all our football operations and this year I have asked Rich to work closely with Thomas and Dan over the next couple of weeks to conduct a top-to-bottom review, inclusive of structure, processes, resourcing and personnel to identify whatever changes are necessary to enable us to compete consistently at the highest level,” Blank said in a statement. “In my time as owner, and particularly since 2008, we have been one of the winningest teams in the NFC ranking fourth in wins and across the NFL, tied for seventh in wins, and that remains the only acceptable result for us now and in the future.”

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South Notes: Gipson, Quinn, Thomas, Ryan

Texans safety Tashaun Gipson is expected to return to the lineup this week, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Gipson has missed the team’s previous two games after sustaining a back injury in Week 7. Houston has won both games without their starting safety, but set to go up against the Ravens and their dynamic offense, the team hopes to be as close to full strength as possible.

Here’s some more notes from the NFC and AFC South:

  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has relinquished defensive play-calling duties, according to Darin Gantt of NBC Sports. It appears that assistant head coach Raheem Morris and linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich are now responsible for sharing the duties. Given Atlanta’s atrocious start to the season defensively, it makes sense that the staff decided to make a change. While the team remains just 2-7 on the season, they are coming off their strongest performance of the season in a dominating 26-9 victory against the Saints.
  • Two AFC South rivals could be welcoming back some depth in the coming weeks. Texans tight end Jordan Thomas and Jaguars linebacker Jake Ryan have both returned to practice for their respective teams, according to Howard Balzer. Both players were placed on the injured reserve with a designation to return earlier this season. They will now be allowed to practice for up to 21 days before they must be added to the 53-man roster or must return to the injured reserve for the remainder of the year.

South Notes: Fuller, Quinn, Leftwich

The Texans are hopeful that wide receiver Will Fuller will be able to retake the field next week in Baltimore against the Ravens, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle. Fuller has missed the team’s previous two games after suffering a hamstring injury against the Colts.

Fuller is one of the best deep threats in football, especially when he takes the field opposite of all-pro DeAndre Hopkins. Prior to his injury, Fuller was on pace to eclipse 70 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. Those marks may be unattainable now, but at 6-3, the Texans are in the thick of the AFC playoff picture coming out of their bye. Fuller would surely aid them in their pursuit of a Super Bowl title.

Here’s more from the NFC and AFC South:

  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has been firmly on the hot-seat for many weeks. However, after a dominating victory over the Saints on Sunday, Quinn has bought himself at least a temporary reprieve, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Just a few seasons away from a Super Bowl appearance, this year has fallen far short of expectations, especially on defense. However, New Orleans potent offense looked overwhelmed for much of the game.
  • After a 30-27 victory in a shootout against the Cardinals, the Buccaneers offense continues to produce in spit of Jameis Winston‘s propensity for turnovers. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich deserves a large amount of credit as the playcaller, however, he almost never got the responsibilities in the first place. In the offseason, head coach Bruce Arians had to convince ownership that someone other than him should call plays, according to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.

Dan Quinn Being Evaluated On Week-To-Week Basis

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is probably on the hottest seat of any HC at the moment, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says Quinn is being evaluated on a week-to-week basis (video link). That means that, if things go “horribly wrong” for Atlanta on Sunday, Quinn may be relieved of his duties shortly thereafter.

And, given that the 1-7 Falcons are 13-point underdogs to the 7-1 Saints this afternoon — and given that the game is in New Orleans — it’s not difficult to envision things going horribly wrong. Rapoport says Falcons owner Arthur Blank will use the Saints game to help him make a decision with respect to Quinn, so it sounds as if Quinn could hang onto his job for another week if his team puts up a good fight against New Orleans. But, if the Falcons lay another egg, Quinn could get the axe.

Atlanta’s defense, which is supposedly Quinn’s specialty, has been non-existent, and it’s currently ranked near the bottom of the league in just about every defensive category, allowing almost 400 yards of total offense per game. The Falcons had their bye last week but lost their sixth straight game the week before.

Quinn is currently in his fifth season and led Atlanta to the Super Bowl after the 2016 regular season, though an epic collapse during the Super Bowl denied the franchise of its first Lomabrdi Trophy. The Falcons posted a 10-6 record the following year, but it has been a downhill slide ever since. Even if Quinn makes it through the rest of 2019, he is widely expected to be fired in the offseason.

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Dan Quinn Won’t Be Fired During Bye Week

Dan Quinn‘s job is safe… for now. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport report (via Twitter) that the Falcons head coach won’t be fired during the bye week. Quinn will presumably be on the sideline for Atlanta’s Week 10 matchup against the Saints.

Last month, owner Arthur Blank didn’t give a definitive answer when asked if the team would make any changes during the bye week. As Garafolo points out, Blank has been especially supportive of Quinn, although that could partly be attributed to the fallout that followed the firing of their last head coach, Mike Smith.

Even if Quinn is safe for now, unless the Falcons have some miraculous turnaround, there’s little chance the head coach sticks with the team next season. Garafolo says that many people believe Quinn will ultimately be fired, especially after the team didn’t respond to the overhaul of the coaching staff this past offseason.

Atlanta’s defense, which is supposedly Quinn’s specialty, has been non-existent, and it’s currently ranked near the bottom of the league in just about every defensive category, allowing almost 400 yards of total offense per game. The Falcons lost their sixth straight game last weekend, dropping them to 1-7.

Quinn is currently in his fifth season and most notably led Atlanta to the Super Bowl after the 2016 regular season. The Falcons posted a 10-6 record the following year, which was the last time Atlanta finished the season above .500 and/or went to the postseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Dan Quinn

Earlier this week, while at the NFL Fall League Meetings in Fort Lauderdale, Arthur Blank was pressed with questions regarding the struggling Falcons and the status of Dan Quinn. He was asked if the team’s upcoming bye in two weeks was a fair time table to evaluate Quinn and potentially make a coaching change. “I don’t think that’s fair.” said Blank, “I don’t have any specific timetable. Just looking at each game one at a time. It’s the bye week, yes, but it’s not a trigger for making any changes. We’ll just continue to look at what we see developing and continue to support the coach and support the general manager and continue to ask them to do everything they can to put some wins up on the scoreboard.” Blank would also comment on this Sunday’s game against the Rams, adding: “I think we’ll see some changes. I think you’ll see them on the field on Sunday. Obviously for competitive advantage reasons, we won’t talk about them, but … we have a lot of football left to play.”

Well, things certainly did not go according to plan against the Rams earlier this afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as the Falcons were blown out 37-10 in a largely uncompetitive game, where running back Devonta Freeman was ejected for throwing a punch at Aaron Donald and quarterback Matt Ryan left in a walking boot after an ankle injury ended his day. Running back Ito Smith also left the game with a head/neck injury and had to be carted off the field.

Once again, the defense, which is supposedly Quinn’s specialty, was non-existent, and is currently ranked near the bottom of the league in just about every defensive category, allowing almost 400 yards of total offense per game.

When asked for comment immediately following the loss, Blank dismissed speculation that Quinn might be fired Monday, and said “I still support” the coach, according to The Athletic‘s Jeff Schultz. However, Schultz would go on to add that he believe’s nothing will save Quinn’s job at this point.

Quinn is currently in his fifth season and most notably led Atlanta to the Super Bowl after the 2016 regular season. The Falcons posted a 10-6 record the following year, which was the last time Atlanta finished the season above .500 and/or went to the postseason.

Latest On Falcons’ HC Dan Quinn

While Falcons head coach Dan Quinn may be on the hot seat, it sounds as if he will have at least a couple more weeks to save his job. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says that club owner Arthur Blank wants to see progress over the next three games before Atlanta’s Week 9 bye, but if he does not like what he sees during that time, Quinn could be axed.

Atlanta, which was humiliated by the Texans last week, will take on the Cardinals in Arizona today, followed by difficult games against the Rams and Seahawks. Luckily for Quinn and his Falcons, the LA and Seattle contests are at home, but given the way Quinn’s club has looked this season, Atlanta will probably be underdogs for both of those matchups just the same.

But Blank does not like to make midseason coaching changes, and he would prefer to keep Quinn on until at least the end of the season. Rapoport says that Blank has not had discussions about Quinn’s future just yet, but that could change soon. Speculatively, it sounds as if the Falcons may need to beat the Cardinals and at least one of the Rams or Seahawks for Quinn to keep his job beyond the Week 9 bye.

After all, Quinn fired all three of his top coordinators this offseason and is now serving as his own defensive coordinator. The fact that the Falcons have allowed the second-most points in the league is not exactly helping his case.

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Falcons Not Considering Coaching Change

Dan Quinn and his staff are safe, for now. Falcons owner Arthur Blank said the team won’t be making any changes at this time following his team’s loss to the Texans, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com

“No. … This staff has performed before. My hope is they can fix what needs to be fixed and start winning some games,” Blank said when asked if a coaching change is needed. Just earlier this morning, we received more confirmation that he is on the hot seat, and that report indicated a loss to the Texans could be the final straw. Even though there apparently are no firings imminent, that’s a pretty tepid statement of confidence from Blank. It’s long been speculated that Quinn won’t be brought back in 2020 unless the Falcons make the playoffs, and even then he might have to win a game or two.

With their loss to Houston, Atlanta fell to 1-4 on the year. There was a report back in May that Blank was growing “restless” with the organization’s power structure, and it’s understandable considering how they’ve regressed in recent seasons. Just a few years ago, the Falcons had the league MVP in Matt Ryan and were playing in the Super Bowl. The defense has since completely collapsed, and the offense has declined sharply since former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left.

Atlanta missed the playoffs last year and as of right now it looks like Quinn will be looking for a new gig this offseason. He was forced to make major changes to his staff this past offseason, firing offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel. Quinn rose to prominence as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator for a couple of years during their ‘Legion of Boom’ glory days. It’s possible the Falcons won’t make a move during the season out of respect for the success he’s had, but Blank clearly is getting impatient and his days appear to be numbered.

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NFC South Notes: Payton, Brees, Quinn

The extension that Saints head coach Sean Payton signed last month is a whopper. Payton was making $9MM per year under his previous contract, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the offensive guru will now be pulling down around $13MM per season. That deal is one of the largest among coaches of North American professional sports, and it obviously will put an end to speculation concerning Payton’s long-term future in the Big Easy.

Now for more from the NFC South, starting with the other face of the Saints:

  • Drew Brees is throwing a football again, as shown on a video that the Saints star posted on Instagram. Brees managed to avoid a trip to the IR, and last week we learned that he is making progress in his recovery from thumb surgery. New Orleans is 2-0 with Brees’ backup, Teddy Bridgewater, at the helm, and the club will try to make that 3-0 against Tampa Bay this afternoon. Previous reports suggested that Brees could return for the club’s November 10 matchup with the Falcons.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is on the hot seat, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says an Atlanta loss to the Texans today could expedite Quinn’s ouster. After all, a loss would drop the team to 1-4, and with difficult games against the Rams and Seahawks following the Falcons’ matchup with the Cardinals next week, Atlanta could be looking at a 2-6 record after the first half of the season. Atlanta has three former head coaches on its staff — offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, tight ends coach Mike Mularkey, and receivers coach Raheem Morris — and owner Arthur Blank may be thinking about putting one of them in charge to finish out the season if Quinn can’t right the ship immediately.
  • Greg Auman of The Athletic observes that the Buccaneers could be in line for a third-round compensatory pick to offset the loss of Kwon Alexander in free agency and a fourth-rounder to offset the loss of Adam Humphries. As it currently stands, Tampa Bay signed enough outside free agents to negate those compensatory picks, but given that some of those free agents are underperforming (or barely playing), the Bucs could cut them loose prior to Week 9 to put themselves back on track for the compensatory selections. That means that Deone Bucannon, Breshad Perriman, and Bradley Pinion could all be in danger of being cut.

Falcons Owner Discusses Team’s Offseason

Earlier this week, veteran NFL reporter Peter King wrote in his “Football Morning in America” column that Falcons owner Arthur Blank “is getting restless.” However, in a statement to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Blank said that wasn’t the case, as the owner was happy with the organization’s offseason.

“I’m feeling very good about what (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) and (coach) Dan (Quinn) have done this offseason,” Blank said. “We have some key guys getting healthy again, the draft picks are getting up to speed, the new coordinators are meshing well and I’m confident we’re going to be ready to go for a very competitive training camp. I like where we’re going.”

The Falcons have been especially focused on improving their offensive line this offseason. The front office used a pair of first-rounders to select linemen Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary, and they also added projected starter James Carpenter via free agency. The team’s other notable offseason moves include signing defensive linemen Adrian Clayborn and Tyeler Davison, and they also added backup tight end Luke Stocker. The Falcons even reshaped their coaching staff, hiring Dirk Koetter as their offensive coordinator and Ben Kotwica as their special teams coordinator.

However, it isn’t unfair to wonder if the Falcons are floundering. As King noted in his article, the team is 18-17 over their past 35 games (a string that starts with their devastating Super Bowl loss to the Patriots). Furthermore, the team is set to pay quarterback Matt Ryan $30MM over the next half-decade, and they’ll presumably be paying wideout Julio Jones a lucrative contract, as well.

The Falcons have head coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff under contract through 2022. Their deals would indicate that their fates are tied together, but Blank previously said the duo isn’t necessarily linked if the 2019 season goes poorly.

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