ATLANTA (CBS46) – “The Falcons are dreadful.” Those four words from NBC Sports’ Peter King sum up the current state of the Atlanta Falcons after another blowout loss sank the team to 1-6 on the season.
The Falcons’ defense, the specialty of head coach Dan Quinn, has been abysmal the last few weeks. The defense has given up 53 points to the Texans, 34 points to the Cardinals, and 37 points to the Rams, who had lost three straight games.
On defense, the Falcons rank 27th in the league in total defense, allowing 451 yards per game. The team ranks 28th in passing defense and 20th in rushing defense. But those are just the top line stats as the Falcons are the second worst in the league in points allowed per game, allowing 31.9 points per contest, ahead of only the intentionally losing Miami Dolphins.
The Falcons also can’t get anyone off the field on third down in the league, allowing opponents to convert third downs at a 55 percent rate for the season. The team has also given up 17 touchdowns this season, tied for worst in the league with the Arizona Cardinals’ woeful defense.
As we mercifully finish off the defensive stats, the Falcons have the fewest sacks in the entire NFL this season with just five on the season, less than one per game.
Put another way, it reminds one of the famous quote from former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach John McKay when asked about his team’s execution he said, “I’m all for it.”
On the other side of the ball, the Falcons’ offense ranks in the middle of the league by yards gained per game at 367.4. But the Falcons’ offense is -8 when it comes to turnover margin this year, good for fourth worst in the league. The Falcons also rank sixth worst in the league with 497 penalty yards.
Looking at the running game, the Flacons rank 29th in the league in rushing, gaining just 66.7 yards per game. The Falcons’ rushing attack, if one can call it that, has managed to score a total of two touchdowns on this season, tied for 27th worst in the NFL.
Still, according to TheAthletic.com’s Jeff Schultz, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Sunday he still supports Quinn.
"Of course. We've got games to play," Blank told Schultz. "I support the players. I support the coach. I feel all the pain that the fans feel and also the players do and the coaches do, as well."
When asked if Quinn would be fired Monday, Blank responded bluntly, "No."
"But that doesn't change the record. It is what it is. It's just very disappointing for everybody," Blank said."
For Quinn, the fans and most in NFL circles believe it’s a matter of when, not if, he is fired from his job as head coach of the Falcons. Quinn took over in 2015 and by his second year, had the Falcons in the Super Bowl. If he’s fired this week, he’ll finish his tenure in Atlanta with a record of 37-33 including two playoff berths in 2016 and 2017 and the Super Bowl trip.
But, since winning the NFC Championship, the team’s trajectory has been down. The Falcons finished 2018 with a losing record and the 2019 season looks to be lost before even hitting the midway point. The team has one more home game against the always tough Seattle Seahawks on Sunday before hitting a bye week.
In the past, NFL head coaches usually get fired at the beginning of a bye week. So, Quinn may survive another week before Blank decides to pull the trigger.
Blank has no choice as the window to win with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones is rapidly closing. The Falcons will need an immediate jolt in the offseason if they expect to compete. On the bright side, at their current pace, the team should be able to secure help from a top draft pick.
It’s still possible the Falcons turn their season around after the abysmal start. But the big question right now is, will Coach Quinn be there for a possible turnaround.