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Atlanta Fires Dan Quinn, Thomas Dimitroff

According to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, the Falcons will fire Dan Quinn tomorrow after Atlanta lost to Carolina today to start the season 0-5.

UPDATE: The Falcons announced that they are firing both Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff on their official Twitter feed tonight.

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19 comments, Last at 15 Oct 2020, 2:17pm

2 Two winning seasons out of 6…

Two winning seasons out of 6 (if we include this year) is pitiful when you consider he has had a top tier QB and pass offense all along. I'd say this was long overdue. 

4 I'd not say it's long…

I'd not say it's long overdue.

Coaches that take your team to the SB don't grow on trees even in the NFC.  First three seasons decent for a rebuild, last two back-to-back 7-9s. Not terrible, not great.

Look at it this way, Quinn took Falcons to SB the year after Rivera took Panthers to SB. Quinn gets fired year after Rivera.  A SB appearance/win buys you about 2-3 years of job security unless you absolutely implode in one of those seasons.


5 I think the reason fans…

I think the reason fans think it's overdue is because the 2 improbable losses really brought back the memory of how bad some of the decisions were in the Super Bowl loss, tarnishing the hell out of it. I wouldn't be surprised if Quinn was fired so early in the season because those losses were so reminiscent of the Super Bowl loss. Then when you start to look at the recent losses in that light, and connect them to the Super Bowl loss, you're like, why have we kept this guy around this long?


6 Comparing Rivera and Quinn…

Comparing Rivera and Quinn on the surface looks similar. But when you dig into the details, you come away with very different interpretations. 


Rivera has balanced, but mediocre teams that may not have flashed much brilliance, but were competent. He also had to guide teams after Cam was injured, giving him a grade on the curve. Contrast that with Quinn who has had a healthy Matt Ryan and Julio Jones and somehow still managed to underwhelm as an offense. Combine that with a defense thats been perpetually terrible and you get the stench of an underachiever. Furthermore, it appears both with hindsight and some foresight that the real driving force behind that SB was Kyle Shanahan, as the offense has never come close to approaching that level again.

11 Yes, perhaps that was an…

Yes, perhaps that was an exaggeration. Still, I'd defy you to disprove anything theslothook says above. Above all, Quinn is a defensive coach, and Atlanta's defensive record has been abysmal throughout his tenure. He must be accountable for that. 

As another comparison, Mike Smith is nobody's idea of a HOF coach, but he was there throughout the early part of Ryan's career. From 2008-2012, the Falcons had 5 consecutive winning seasons, including 4 playoff appearances (before it fell apart). That ought to be the aspiration for teams with consistently high level QB play. 

3 underperforming the talent

That'll cost the coach his job.  Not sure why Dimitroff has to go, too, unless he'd been a staunch Quinn advocate to the point where they were considered a team.

9 I expect that would be up to…

I expect that would be up to the next GM.  Certainly the presence of Ryan and Jones makes the job more attractive to candidates, even if only for their trade value.

8 Oh please.  Based purely on…

Oh please.  Based purely on talent, how many years did Atlanta have an elite roster? How many times did they sign an impact free agent? How many diamonds in the rough did they find via trade, free agency, or waiver wire?

10 I had to look up how long…

I had to look up how long Dimitroff has been the GM, and wow, 12+ seasons. With a total of 1 Super Bowl appearance (which, we all know how that game went...), and the team almost certain to miss the playoffs for the 3rd season in a row in 2020. I'm not sure what argument there would be for Dimitroff to stay.

In general, I think teams fire the coach and keep the GM way too often. Hard to think of too many scenarios where a GM hired his coach (as opposed to being required to keep the previous one), that coach was bad enough to deserve firing, yet the GM doesn't deserve to be blamed for hiring that coach in the first place and has been good enough at the other parts of the GM job to justify keeping it.

13 I wrote the passage below …

I wrote the passage below (published elsewhere) in 2017.  To me, this is the moment it started to go south for Quinn, not the SB itself:

So after a brilliant offensive season (first in points. second in yards) and a Super Bowl appearance, former OC Kyle Shanahan got a head coaching job.  Hampered by the rules and prepping for the Super Bowl, the Falcons did not start a search for a new OC until after most teams had hired a lot of the likely choices.  Presumably they could have hired from within, promoting Matt LaFleur from QB coach to OC.  Apparently, they preferred to hire someone who had called plays before so they passed on LaFleur.  [Instead] they hired Steve Sarkisian.

Does this make sense?  Here's your choices:  1) a young, ambitious assistant with 8 years of NFL coaching experience, all in the same offensive system you ran last year, who just worked for you and with your QB in his career year but has never called plays in the NFL; 2) a slightly older guy with head coaching experience in major college programs who has ONE year of NFL experience (13 years ago), gotten fired for having a drinking problem, has no experience with your offensive system, but worked for two of your former bosses and has never called plays in the NFL, although he has in college.  I don't know about you, but I'd take the coach behind Door #1.  Not Dan Quinn – he opted for #2, Sarkisian.  Of course Matt LaFleur was so poorly thought of in NFL circles that he went A WHOLE DAY before another team hired him as its OC.

What am I missing?  Did LaFleur secretly call for passes late in the Super Bowl?  Was Sarkisian's play-calling in the college national championship game so impressive?  Maybe it was the 46-35 record as a head coach.  Or the two Holiday Bowl wins.  Look, Quinn has taken a team to the Super Bowl so he's entitled to some benefit of the doubt.  And from working with LaFleur over two years Quinn presumably knows something about LaFleur's strengths and weaknesses not apparent to the outsider.  But seriously, Steve Sarkisian?  In all of football, this is the best you can do?

Obviously LaFleur has been more successful since then than Sarkisian, which was highly predictable.  Not sure what Quinn was thinking...

14 This is a classic case of…

This is a classic case of confirmation/recency bias.  I don't recall the Tennessee offense under LaFleur being very good.  It's surprising what having Rodgers instead of Mariota at QB can do for someone's rep...

17 Also I would argue that…

Also I would argue that playcalling experience is useful when talking about a top tier offense with a lot of talent on a team with Super Bowl aspirations versus an offense with a lot of young players on a team with low expectations.  Put another way, Quinn would have looked very stupid if he hired a newbie OC who proved to be a disaster at preparation, playcalling, and the mechanics of communicating the play on gameday on that Atlanta team and, if they failed in that scenario, you'd likely have bemoaned the OC's lack of experience. 

19 The counter-argument in support of MRH

The counter-argument in support of MRH's position is, change things as little as possible for the offense, coming off a QB MVP season.  I think MRH is right.  Keep the same verbiage, the same philosophy, and as much of the same staff on the offensive side as you can.  Of course you'll lose a little, no one is as good a play-caller in that system as Kyle Shanny.  But not promoting LaFleur is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, or compounding the problem, or something.

It almost doesn't matter if Sarkisian is any good or not.  He was "change", and that was a moment where you needed to keep change to an absolute minimum.  Matt The Flower was a reasonable OC candidate (he got such a job that same offseason), and he would have been the least amount of change for your MVP QB and record-setting offense.

18 Given Matt Ryan and Julio…

Given Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, wins 2 out of 6 seasons.

But honestly, I think Dan Quinn lucked into working for Pete Carroll, was an utterly replaceable coach who didn't really know even defense, and lucked into having Matty Ryan and Kyle Shanahan.