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The Associated Press

Sep 12, 2019, 8:45 PM




ATLANTA (AP) -- Dan Quinn brushes off any suggestion that he's starting to feel some heat.

That might change if the Atlanta Falcons don't turn things around.

Like, now.

Coming off a dismal 28-12 loss at Minnesota in the season opener, the Falcons coach has now lost 11 of his last 18 games going back to the playoffs at the end of the 2017 season. In the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately NFL, Quinn taking this team to the Super Bowl has become a rapidly fading memory.

''There's nothing pressure-wise that would be more than we normally feel because of all the people in that locker room, all the fans - we're doing it for everybody,'' Quinn said. ''We want to make sure we do it right. So when we miss the mark like we did, yeah, it stings. It stings bad.''

The Falcons (0-1) have a chance to change the narrative Sunday night when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) in the home opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

But it's clear that Year 5 of Quinn's tenure is crucial.

Owner Arthur Blank expects results after spending hundreds of millions of dollars locking up key players such as quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones. Blank is undoubtedly mindful that his other team, Atlanta United, won a Major League Soccer championship last December in only their second year of existence.

The Falcons have been around since 1966 but have never won a title, their closest call coming at the end of the 2016 season when they infamously squandered a 28-3 lead to New England in the Super Bowl.

''You want to do right ... but not any more than any other time,'' Quinn said. ''That's our bond to Arthur, that's our bond to the city that we want to put out and do right by them, so they have a team that we're all proud of.''

Some things to watch for when the Falcons host the Eagles in prime time:




Darren Sproles, Jordan Howard and rookie Miles Sanders combined for 116 yards rushing on 26 carries in Week 1 against Washington, helping the Eagles rally from a 17-point deficit for a 32-27 win. Coach Doug Pederson prefers to rotate his backs and likes to take advantage of mismatches, so it's likely he'll continue mixing it up.

The Eagles should have opportunities to run more against Atlanta. The Vikings gashed the Falcons for 172 yards on the ground. ''Obviously, the Vikings did a great job in the run game,'' Pederson said. ''But they're going home, they're going to play in front of their crowd. It's going to be a different atmosphere for us, and it's going to be a different team that we're going to see.''




The Falcons struggled mightily on offense in their loss to the Vikings and are still trying to sort out things on the offensive line. First-round pick Chris Lindstrom went down with a broken foot and is expected to miss at least eight weeks, forcing Jamon Brown to take over at right guard after he was beaten out for the left guard spot by James Carpenter during the preseason. "Of course I wanted to start,'' Brown said. ''Now, it's here. My opportunity is here. I've got to make the most of it.''

Atlanta is also using a rotation at right tackle with rookie Kaleb McGary and Matt Gono. McGary will eventually be the full-time starter, but he's still working himself into game condition after undergoing a heart procedure during training camp. ''It's going to take some time to catch up,'' he said. ''But when I do catch up, no one is going to be more excited about it than me.''




The Eagles finished 30th against the pass last season and showed no signs of improvement in Week 1. Washington's Case Keenum threw for 380 yards against a suspect secondary that didn't get much help from the pass rush. The defense only sacked Keenum once and gave him way too much time to throw. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz doesn't blitz much, so he relies on the front four to get pressure on quarterbacks. When they don't, the secondary is expected to do more.

''We needed to cover better to be able to get the pass rush home,'' Schwartz said. ''We can do better certainly in pass rush, but I think in coverage we can make the quarterback hold the ball a little longer and buy time for our guys to get home.''




DeSean Jackson shows no signs of slowing down at age 32, giving the Eagles' offense yet another weapon in the deep passing game. He caught eight passes for 154 yards in his first game back in Philadelphia since being cut by former coach Chip Kelly following his third Pro Bowl season in 2013. ''They've got a lot of different weapons,'' Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant said.



While Jackson had a huge game, Jones was merely a blip in the Falcons' offense after an offseason dominated by protracted negotiations for a new contract. The two sides reached agreement on a three-year, $66 million extension just 24 hours before the season opener. Then Jones was held to 31 yards on six catches by the Vikings, his longest play covering 10 yards. The Falcons will be looking for Jones to a play a much bigger role in this game.




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7 minutes ago, Club212 said:

Lost 11 of  last 18? .500 record since the 28-3? If the fans are happy with that...I'm just speechless...yeah, we're using the same plays from Shanny, just a different play caller, thats great, almost 5 years of film to digest for opponents

This is so stupid and lazy. But carry on. I want to see where it goes. 

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11 hours ago, vel said:

The media loves to make an 0-1 start a death sentence and with the cycle being a full week, they rope fans into believing it too. It's so exhausting. 

The gloom and doom prognosticating after game 1 pretty much ran me out of here the last few days. I simply couldn’t take it. Growing pains being confused with inability.

I expect our offense to struggle with mistakes again against Philly with more talk of firing DQ, TD, Keotter, Ryan’s demise etc, although I expect our defense to tighten up some. I predicted a 2-2 start, I’m still holding to it.

But make  no mistake about it, I expect this team to be firing on all cylinders by mid season when we start playing our division foes and I still think our destiny will be in our hands during that stretch, leading us to the playoffs.

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6 minutes ago, Cole World said:

I’m not worry about Desean Jackson. He’s only effective at go routes, jet sweep’s and end around’s.

He won’t go across the middle and if he does Keanu Neal will give him some deja vu of the Dunta Robinson hit.

Much more concerned stopping the run and covering TE’s Ertz and Goedert..

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37 minutes ago, Vandy said:

They didn’t? They’ve already Got you believing we “have one of the toughest schedules in the league”. 

I don't watch ESPN, NFLN, pre games or listen to talking heads so they haven't gotten me to think anything. 

I looked at our schedule and got it based off how I see the teams we are playing and if it's home/away (although we haven't had a true home field advantage since leaving The Dome).

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41 minutes ago, Malachore said:

I don't watch ESPN, NFLN, pre games or listen to talking heads so they haven't gotten me to think anything. 

I looked at our schedule and got it based off how I see the teams we are playing and if it's home/away (although we haven't had a true home field advantage since leaving The Dome).

Meh, way too early in season to know any of that. 

Did you include Carolina and Tampa in your ‘analysis’? Andrew Luck-less Colts? Bland offenses of Jax and 49ers?

Everybody’s schedule has aspects of difficulty, NFL is designed to be an 8-8 league. Contrary to what this board thinks, there’s Few easy games for any teams. 

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