Goober Pyle

Schultz: Quinn, Dimitroff acknowledge mistakes made on roster, coaching staff

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https://theathletic.com/748093/2019/01/03/schultz-quinn-dimitroff-acknowledge-mistakes-made-on-roster-coaching-staff/

Schultz: Quinn, Dimitroff acknowledge mistakes made on...

Jeff Schultz

7-8 minutes

Once you get past the postseason reflections on injuries, a five-game losing streak that smothered playoff hopes and the recent firings of three coordinators, here’s what the Falcons’ fizzled 2018 season comes down to: Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff screwed up.

It doesn’t mean Quinn isn’t a good coach (he took an upside down team to the playoffs in two of his first three seasons, including a Super Bowl run), or that Dimitroff isn’t more than competent as a personnel man (his good decisions far outweigh the bad ones, critics notwithstanding). But as the co-builders of the Falcons’ organization, both acknowledge there’s ample evidence that their assessment of the depth on the Falcons’ roster was inaccurate.

They believed they could let go of certain veterans because some young players would evolve into leaders. That didn’t happen.

They believed they didn’t need to make moves early in the season after injuries to significant starters because their depth would rescue them. Instead, it buried them.

They believed they hired the right two men as offensive (Steve Sarkisian) and defensive (Marquand Manuel) coordinator after the 2016 Super Bowl season. Wrong again.

“I asked each of the players what are two or three of the plays or moments where you could’ve made a difference and how would that change,” Quinn said Thursday. “So for me, there must be 50 of them. I definitely feel that responsibility when we don’t hit that mark as a team.”

Dimitroff, expressing disappointment in the team’s play after Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen and others were injured, said, “There are certainly people we thought stepped up, and there were people who we thought were going to step up and thrive for us but didn’t. That’s something I’m always going to be focused on.”

If the right coaches are hired, if the right players are brought in to fill the gaps, the Falcons can accomplish next season what they failed to in 2018 —compete for a Super Bowl. If the wrong decisions are made, Quinn and Dimitroff both could be out of jobs.

The realities of this season hit home for Quinn during a five-game losing streak that began in November in Cleveland. The Falcons had steadied themselves with three straight wins to get back to 4-4, then backslid.

“I thought maybe we were back on solid ground,” Quinn said. “After the five-game stretch, that was a spot where it got frustrating. When you get eliminated from the postseason conversation earlier than you would like to and having to watch January football, it sucks. Those realizations hit you right in the face. The easy thing to do is (say), ‘Well, we just have to do better.’ But it’s way deeper than that.”

There are a number of major personnel decisions the team must make, including satisfying Grady Jarrett (free agent) and Julio Jones (renegotiations) contractually and strengthening the offensive and defensive lines. But the single most important decision will be the naming of a new offensive coordinator.

The potential candidacy of Gary Kubiak rises above all others. The former Denver and Houston head coach has expressed an interest in getting back into coaching, possibly as an offensive coordinator, after two years off for health reasons. Broncos general manager John Elway would like to keep Kubiak in Denver, where he has some nebulous adviser title.

But too many have latched onto Elway’s words and not this simple fact: Kubiak has yet to say anything publicly.

Quinn acknowledged Thursday that there is at least one candidate, possibly more, he’s waiting to speak with after the playoffs. Keep an eye on Jedd Fisch, a friend of Quinn’s and a former offensive coordinator in Minnesota and Jacksonville who’s currently with the Los Angeles Rams as a “senior offensive assistant.”

As for Kubiak, I asked Quinn if he might also be waiting on a potential candidate who’s not in the playoffs now but is considering his options and is currently in the Rocky Mountain region. Hypothetically, of course.

He laughed. Then he answered.

“Hypothetically? Yeah, as we cast a wide net, you better make sure you go through the process (the best) that you can to explore all avenues,” Quinn said. “What I can say is there are a lot of people who want to be here.”

If you’re into connecting dots, here are a few other things to consider: Kubiak is the best fit for the Falcons’ scheme, which isn’t going to change. He is close with Falcons quarterback coach Greg Knapp; the two worked together in Denver and Houston.

One more thing, for conspiracy theorists: Quinn has fired four coaches to date: three coordinators (Sarkisian, Manuel, special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong) and one position coach. That assistant: tight ends coach Wade Harman. Why the rush to fire the tight ends coach now? One possibility: Brian Pariani, a tight ends coach, has been with Kubiak at every stop in his career, other than one season at Syracuse. Pariani was fired by the Broncos after Kubiak stepped down after the 2016 season and now works as a consultant.

If Quinn can’t get Kubiak or former Miami head coach Adam Gase (who is interviewing for head coaching jobs), expect the coordinator to come from a group that includes former Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, former Falcons offensive coordinator and Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter, possibly Fisch and others. Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio reported the team interviewed former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. I’m not sure if that was a courtesy interview or with something else in mind, but it would surprise me if Mularkey is a serious candidate to be a coordinator.

Quinn won’t put a timetable on the search, logical because of potential playoff candidates and, presumably, the decisions to be made by Kubiak and Gase. But Quinn and Dimitroff also will be kept busy trying to fix the flawed roster. The lack of physicality in the running game and against the run bothered both.

“When you have a difficult time like this, you hold the light up to it,” Quinn said. “It’s not always comfortable. You want to find where there’s a scab. You want to find where there’s something to address. You want to find where there’s something to clean up. Physicality on both sides of the line of scrimmage has to be better.”

 

Edited by Goober Pyle

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So let me get this straight,  you thought a guy you just picked up from the bottom of the Pats roster to play special teams was going to get the job done when Neal went down?

Holy crap someone needs to go tell Quinn to look at Smittys last two years and the oline and dline.

He more or less thought the same thing.  By the time he realized it,  it was too late.

He had one season to fix it but then he lost 4 starters on the oline and the season went down the drain. 

falcons007, sdogg, vitaman and 5 others like this

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Salary Cap ****. Coach up average talent or get fired. With Grady and Julio draining the till, it won't get much better anytime soon I don't think. If the injuries stay away next year, the talent is there to go the distance. One thing you can't do again is baby these guys during pre-season. Get them ready for game speed and start fast because injuries will happen during the season and at least if you start fast maybe you can get guys back before the season is lost.

sdogg, Club212 and Flying Falcon like this

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Just now, papachaz said:

ok someone shed some light on who Jed Fisch is and his qualifications, anyone know?

All that matters is he will be the reason we hoist the Lombardi in Miami next February

PokerSteve likes this

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6 minutes ago, papachaz said:

ok someone shed some light on who Jed Fisch is and his qualifications, anyone know?

Fisch was Sean McVay’s clock management specialist last year. Made his bones learning under Mike Shanahan in Denver.

No.11, papachaz, Shelley#37 and 4 others like this

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13 minutes ago, Vandy said:

Fisch was Sean McVay’s clock management specialist last year. Made his bones learning under Mike Shanahan in Denver.

Im almost certain Knapp will be game manager for Quinn, maybe 85% imo

Vandy likes this

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56 minutes ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

So let me get this straight,  you thought a guy you just picked up from the bottom of the Pats roster to play special teams was going to get the job done when Neal went down?

Holy crap someone needs to go tell Quinn to look at Smittys last two years and the oline and dline.

He more or less thought the same thing.  By the time he realized it,  it was too late.

He had one season to fix it but then he lost 4 starters on the oline and the season went down the drain. 

Go ahead, Preacher man! 

And in an unrelated story...

As soon as guys started going down and Quinn was "comfortable" with the current roster, I KNEW at THAT very moment, we were Screwed like Norm McDonald!

sdogg, Wardog357, Sun Tzu 7 and 1 other like this

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1 minute ago, Zone#7 said:

Think the biggest mistake they made is letting go of veterans. That's the maintenant difference between seasons to me. 

ehhh maybe clayborn has only 2.5 sacks this yr, and I watched Poe a lot this yr with the panthers he wasnt much better either. thats the only 2 vets that  I can think of that we didnt keep from last yr that made any impact for us

papachaz, vitaman and shc like this

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Losing Poe and AC killed the D aside from the injuries to Debo, Neal and Rico. McClain was absolute trash and no other youth stepped up aside from Foye and Kazee. Senat didn't get much of a chance so we'll give him a pass. 

No to Gase and MM. 

Huge yes to Kubiak.

Bevell and DK would be acceptable I guess. 

And I'd be curious to see what a guy like Jedd could bring to the team. That Rams O and anything that touched McVay's mind is gold.

papachaz likes this

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IMHO Losing Tollio was big. Letting A C go, hurt. The loss of DiMarco and Hageman hurt. Being stubborn and not bringing back Feeney to help VB hurt. Losing Gabe to take the top off of defenses hurt. The Draft of Harlow instead of some other available OL's didn't work. But every team makes mistakes. To me the biggest mistake was " We are good like we are."

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42 minutes ago, 11=team said:

I like the candor DQ and TD owned their mistakes, admirable...I just hope we're winning and not retooling next year.

I felt DQ did,  but TD just avoided the obvious elephant in the room. OLine

Vandy likes this

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18 minutes ago, Gold4425 said:

IMHO Losing Tollio was big. Letting A C go, hurt. The loss of DiMarco and Hageman hurt. Being stubborn and not bringing back Feeney to help VB hurt. Losing Gabe to take the top off of defenses hurt. The Draft of Harlow instead of some other available OL's didn't work. But every team makes mistakes. To me the biggest mistake was " We are good like we are."

I like the long end return of ridley over gabriel though. gabriel had 68 catches 2 tds and 688 yds, which is good for a number 2 or 3. calvin had 64 catches for 821 yds and 10 tds which is great!!! for a number 2 or 3

MoFalconsFan56 likes this

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2 hours ago, mtldirtybird said:

Losing Poe and AC killed the D aside from the injuries to Debo, Neal and Rico. McClain was absolute trash and no other youth stepped up aside from Foye and Kazee. Senat didn't get much of a chance so we'll give him a pass. 

No to Gase and MM. 

Huge yes to Kubiak.

Bevell and DK would be acceptable I guess. 

And I'd be curious to see what a guy like Jedd could bring to the team. That Rams O and anything that touched McVay's mind is gold.

Let's realize something.

Quinn was counting on ALL the pass rush to come from Beasley,  McKinnley, and Jarrett.  No one seriously expected Crawford to have the season he did.

So they had unrealistic expectations to say the least.  They were expecting all 3 guys to have all pro-seasons? Isn't that like saying we'll be fine next season as long as every starter makes the Pro Bowl..... SAY WHAT?!?!

sdogg likes this

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25 minutes ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

Let's realize something.

Quinn was counting on ALL the pass rush to come from Beasley,  McKinnley, and Jarrett.  No one seriously expected Crawford to have the season he did.

So they had unrealistic expectations to say the least.  They were expecting all 3 guys to have all pro-seasons? Isn't that like saying we'll be fine next season as long as every starter makes the Pro Bowl..... SAY WHAT?!?!

Honestly, we still don't have a NT.. Imo Poe was never actually replaced.. Things like that really get under my skin.. It's what being nasty is about, having a dominant guy on the Dline. 

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Ah HA!!!!!  I feel a lot better when I got about half way through this topic post,, Where Quinn said,, something I've posted several times in the last  5 or 10 post I've made,, He said,, The one single most important thing we must do,, is get the right OC .... Wow..! You don't know how much better I feel by hearing him make that statement ... I've mentioned this many times and tried to stress this fact. If we hire the wrong OC ,, We're sunk again next season,, get that hire right. and I think we will be hard to beat and also for sure in the playoffs next season.

egoprime II likes this

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3 hours ago, Gold4425 said:

IMHO Losing Tollio was big. Letting A C go, hurt. The loss of DiMarco and Hageman hurt. Being stubborn and not bringing back Feeney to help VB hurt. Losing Gabe to take the top off of defenses hurt. The Draft of Harlow instead of some other available OL's didn't work. But every team makes mistakes. To me the biggest mistake was " We are good like we are."

Dimarco was by far our biggest loss. 

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31 minutes ago, ⚡Slumerican⚡ said:

Honestly, we still don't have a NT.. Imo Poe was never actually replaced.. Things like that really get under my skin.. It's what being nasty is about, having a dominant guy on the Dline. 

We haven't had a decent NT since Gravy... 

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The biggest mistake was to trust Manuel and Sark, both first time NFL coordinators, with the keys to the shop. We spent all that money on the offensive side of the ball and just saw flashes of it's potential. 

Hire a proven NFL offensive coordinator. I really believe Kubiak would be a great fit but Koetter and his NFC South experience and relationships and familiarities with the team is intriguing as well. 

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