Jump to content

Schultz: On another Falcons collapse, why Dan Quinn looks like Mike Smith 2.0


Recommended Posts

by Jeff Schultz for The Athletic

 

Six years ago, Mike Smith, a once accomplished football coach and a nice guy who was loved by his players, ran out of excuses. There were too many losses and unexplainable collapses on his résumé. His relative ending with the Falcons came on the other side of the Atlantic when his team built a 21-0 lead over Detroit only to string together enough mind-boggling blunders and time management mistakes to lose 22-21 in the final seconds. The game took place two months before Arthur Blank made the firing official, but the Falcons’ owner retained a search firm much earlier.

On Sunday, Dan Quinn became Mike Smith 2.0.

Quinn is a once accomplished football coach and a nice guy who also is loved by his players and also has run out of excuses. The Falcons probably aren’t blessed with nearly as much talent as they would want everybody to believe, but there is still no excuse for the way they once again have face-planted out of the gate in 2020 and certainly not what our eyes witnessed Sunday in Dallas.

It wasn’t 28-3. But it was right down the street.

They lost a game that they led 20-0 in the first quarter, 29-10 at halftime and 39-24 with five minutes left. They lost a game because the defense, which is supposed to be Quinn’s calling card and which Raheem Morris supposedly sprinkled with pixie dust in the (meaningless) second half of 2019, is worse than ever, allowing Dallas to drive for four touchdowns and a field goal in its final six possessions.

They lost because five football players — five professional football players — stood and watched as an onside kick by the Cowboys slowly dribbled 10 yards before they attempted to recover it. They didn’t recover it. They didn’t deserve to. Hayden Hurst, Jaeden Graham, Olamide Zaccheaus, Sharrod Neasman and even the sainted Julio Jones suffered the mother of all brain cramps when they appeared to forget, or simply ignored, that the receiving team can jump on the ball immediately.

But in the players’ defense, this is a rule that probably was only taught to them when they were … six.

Dallas recovered, kicked a field goal and won 40-39.

When the Falcons lose, they don’t just bring a gong. They bring a full 90-piece orchestra and a truckload of exploding clown shoes.

“Just crazy. I wish it was my side,” said Calvin Ridley, who watched the disastrous ending from the other side of the field. “Uh … uh … I just can’t believe it, man. We gotta get that. I wish it was me. I would’ve … I don’t know …”

Ridley played an amazing game. He had seven catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. But he put on the full stop on the rest of his thoughts. He didn’t want to throw anybody else under the bus. That’s cool. I’ll take it from here.

The Falcons went to the Super Bowl in Quinn’s second season. Even with that spectacular collapse at the end, there was reason to believe success would follow. But this team isn’t a shadow of that one, and there’s now ample evidence neither Quinn and his staff of his assistants aren’t fair representations of what we saw in 2016. It doesn’t mean everybody got dumb all of the sudden. It just means that whatever they’re doing now isn’t working.

It’s natural that the onside kick is going to get a lot of attention. It should. But it never should have come down to that cartoonish ending. The Falcons scored 39 points. They didn’t commit a turnover. (The blown onside kick technically is not a fumble.) Thirty-nine points and zero turnovers should win any game. It always has before. In 440 previous times a team scored 39-plus points and didn’t have a turnover, the teams went 440-0.

Once again, the Falcons are seated on the wrong side of history … in a collapsing folding chair.

They have allowed 953 yards and 78 points in two games. Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Dallas’ Dak Prescott passed for a combined 782 yards. The Seahawks and Cowboys scored 10 touchdowns. Dallas tried to give this game away. It lost three lost fumbles and had two ill-advised fake punts that set up 23 of Atlanta’s 39 points. Imagine if the Cowboys weren’t so generous.

“This is going to be a very good team,” Quinn insisted Sunday. “We’re not there today. But the improvement we want to make, what we can become, that is all out there for us.”

You know what else is out there somewhere? A winning lottery ticket. My wife has convinced me to stop looking for it.

Nobody can be certain if/when Blank makes a change. I wrote last week that he isn’t likely to be as patient this season as he was last year, when he gave Quinn a pass after a 1-7 start. But the Falcons are 0-2, which is often a death knell in the NFL playoff picture. They’ve missed the playoffs the past two seasons, largely because of poor starts.

Since 2018, Quinn is a 14-20 coach and this is a 14-20 organization. There was a similar slide under Smith, who went 10-22 after reaching the NFC title game.

Forget promises and platitudes and T-shirts and cheery tweets that seem to be generated by Annie. There’s a lot of bad football in there.

We can second-guess a lot of things. Here are just a few. Quinn had his team attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown that made it 26-7 in the second quarter for no logical reason. His explanation: To get the lead “to three scores” and “your just normal spacing of points” and it was “just chart related.” But a 19-point lead is three scores, and there’s no reason to consult the chart with 19-point lead in the second quarter.

Quinn also shielded his kickoff coverage team from criticism, saying, “The front three are usually blocking” on a bounced kick but eventually acknowledged the rolling kick meant it wasn’t a blocking situation. (One more twist of the knife: C.J. Goodwin, who recovered the kick for Dallas, is a former Falcons player.)

He also had no explanation for how poorly his defense has played to this point: “It is concerning enough that we really wanted to challenge for some takeaways, and I was pleased to see that part. I suspect this is the same type of group, when we see some things we want to get corrected and move on, that will happen, as well. They are connected. They are ready to go. They came out in the right space, but they didn’t finish in the right space.”

There are 70-ish more words that effectively explain nothing about the past and provide no evidence for hope in the future.

Ridley again: “We have to finish some games. We have to close some games out. That’s our win right there. Without a doubt, that’s our win.”

There’s no reason to believe it’s going to get better. The Falcons’ next two games are against Chicago (home) and Green Bay (road), which both started 2-0. The Falcons lost tackle Kaleb McGary to a possibly serious knee injury Sunday, as well as Takk McKinley (groin), who had been playing well, and others. Jones is clearly laboring on a sore hamstring. He also dropped a would-be touchdown pass from Russell Gage and acknowledged the injury impacted that play “a little.”

A 1-3 or 0-4 record could doom Quinn. But it seems like he’s doomed already. When asked how he thought the 0-2 start would impact his status as coach, Quinn responded, “No. 1, you just want to attack it a week at a time. Obviously, I’m disappointed with the way the game ended because there’s a lesson to be learned in the loss, you have to go finish it out.”

A familiar ending for the Falcons may lead to a familiar ending for their coach.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m sICK of his standard “there’s a lesson to learn from this loss” response.

 

How many lessons do you need to learn before you start putting a winning product on the field? Making mistakes is fine as long as you are learning from them and growing. But making the same mistakes multiple times tells me you don’t care.

Edited by Snafu
Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, falcndave said:

I don't think Quinn and Smith are much alike, but I do think it is time for a new coach. My favorite zinger in the article has to be the lottery ticket line. I might be copying and pasting that as a reply to a few threads!

Here's my fav:

When the Falcons lose, they don’t just bring a gong. They bring a full 90-piece orchestra and a truckload of exploding clown shoes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Snafu said:

I’m stock of his standard “there’s a lesson to learn from this loss” response.

 

How many lessons do you need to learn before you start putting a winning product on the field? Making mistakes is fine as long as you are learning from them and growing. But making the same mistakes multiple times tells me you don’t care.

It’s called stubbornness.  It’s the worst trait a HC can have. DQ is just plain stubborn. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the same lesson that has been taught repeatedly. DQ has proven that he is incapable of learning. He doesn't have the IQ and the team is a reflection of that as what happened on the on-sides kick was one of the lowest football IQ moments I have ever witnessed.

DQ has made this organization a laughing stock, and Blank deserves the blame for allowing it to happen by constantly buying his rah rah BS crap time and time again. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike Smith is the complete opposite of Dan Quinn. One preached details, accountability and discipline somewhat limiting players' ability to play freely. One completely ignores everything and makes players feel good even when they shouldn't. Give me Mike Smith over Quinn all day. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Goober Pyle said:

by Jeff Schultz for The Athletic

 

Six years ago, Mike Smith, a once accomplished football coach and a nice guy who was loved by his players, ran out of excuses. There were too many losses and unexplainable collapses on his résumé. His relative ending with the Falcons came on the other side of the Atlantic when his team built a 21-0 lead over Detroit only to string together enough mind-boggling blunders and time management mistakes to lose 22-21 in the final seconds. The game took place two months before Arthur Blank made the firing official, but the Falcons’ owner retained a search firm much earlier.

On Sunday, Dan Quinn became Mike Smith 2.0.

Quinn is a once accomplished football coach and a nice guy who also is loved by his players and also has run out of excuses. The Falcons probably aren’t blessed with nearly as much talent as they would want everybody to believe, but there is still no excuse for the way they once again have face-planted out of the gate in 2020 and certainly not what our eyes witnessed Sunday in Dallas.

It wasn’t 28-3. But it was right down the street.

They lost a game that they led 20-0 in the first quarter, 29-10 at halftime and 39-24 with five minutes left. They lost a game because the defense, which is supposed to be Quinn’s calling card and which Raheem Morris supposedly sprinkled with pixie dust in the (meaningless) second half of 2019, is worse than ever, allowing Dallas to drive for four touchdowns and a field goal in its final six possessions.

They lost because five football players — five professional football players — stood and watched as an onside kick by the Cowboys slowly dribbled 10 yards before they attempted to recover it. They didn’t recover it. They didn’t deserve to. Hayden Hurst, Jaeden Graham, Olamide Zaccheaus, Sharrod Neasman and even the sainted Julio Jones suffered the mother of all brain cramps when they appeared to forget, or simply ignored, that the receiving team can jump on the ball immediately.

But in the players’ defense, this is a rule that probably was only taught to them when they were … six.

Dallas recovered, kicked a field goal and won 40-39.

When the Falcons lose, they don’t just bring a gong. They bring a full 90-piece orchestra and a truckload of exploding clown shoes.

“Just crazy. I wish it was my side,” said Calvin Ridley, who watched the disastrous ending from the other side of the field. “Uh … uh … I just can’t believe it, man. We gotta get that. I wish it was me. I would’ve … I don’t know …”

Ridley played an amazing game. He had seven catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. But he put on the full stop on the rest of his thoughts. He didn’t want to throw anybody else under the bus. That’s cool. I’ll take it from here.

The Falcons went to the Super Bowl in Quinn’s second season. Even with that spectacular collapse at the end, there was reason to believe success would follow. But this team isn’t a shadow of that one, and there’s now ample evidence neither Quinn and his staff of his assistants aren’t fair representations of what we saw in 2016. It doesn’t mean everybody got dumb all of the sudden. It just means that whatever they’re doing now isn’t working.

It’s natural that the onside kick is going to get a lot of attention. It should. But it never should have come down to that cartoonish ending. The Falcons scored 39 points. They didn’t commit a turnover. (The blown onside kick technically is not a fumble.) Thirty-nine points and zero turnovers should win any game. It always has before. In 440 previous times a team scored 39-plus points and didn’t have a turnover, the teams went 440-0.

Once again, the Falcons are seated on the wrong side of history … in a collapsing folding chair.

They have allowed 953 yards and 78 points in two games. Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Dallas’ Dak Prescott passed for a combined 782 yards. The Seahawks and Cowboys scored 10 touchdowns. Dallas tried to give this game away. It lost three lost fumbles and had two ill-advised fake punts that set up 23 of Atlanta’s 39 points. Imagine if the Cowboys weren’t so generous.

“This is going to be a very good team,” Quinn insisted Sunday. “We’re not there today. But the improvement we want to make, what we can become, that is all out there for us.”

You know what else is out there somewhere? A winning lottery ticket. My wife has convinced me to stop looking for it.

Nobody can be certain if/when Blank makes a change. I wrote last week that he isn’t likely to be as patient this season as he was last year, when he gave Quinn a pass after a 1-7 start. But the Falcons are 0-2, which is often a death knell in the NFL playoff picture. They’ve missed the playoffs the past two seasons, largely because of poor starts.

Since 2018, Quinn is a 14-20 coach and this is a 14-20 organization. There was a similar slide under Smith, who went 10-22 after reaching the NFC title game.

Forget promises and platitudes and T-shirts and cheery tweets that seem to be generated by Annie. There’s a lot of bad football in there.

We can second-guess a lot of things. Here are just a few. Quinn had his team attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown that made it 26-7 in the second quarter for no logical reason. His explanation: To get the lead “to three scores” and “your just normal spacing of points” and it was “just chart related.” But a 19-point lead is three scores, and there’s no reason to consult the chart with 19-point lead in the second quarter.

Quinn also shielded his kickoff coverage team from criticism, saying, “The front three are usually blocking” on a bounced kick but eventually acknowledged the rolling kick meant it wasn’t a blocking situation. (One more twist of the knife: C.J. Goodwin, who recovered the kick for Dallas, is a former Falcons player.)

He also had no explanation for how poorly his defense has played to this point: “It is concerning enough that we really wanted to challenge for some takeaways, and I was pleased to see that part. I suspect this is the same type of group, when we see some things we want to get corrected and move on, that will happen, as well. They are connected. They are ready to go. They came out in the right space, but they didn’t finish in the right space.”

There are 70-ish more words that effectively explain nothing about the past and provide no evidence for hope in the future.

Ridley again: “We have to finish some games. We have to close some games out. That’s our win right there. Without a doubt, that’s our win.”

There’s no reason to believe it’s going to get better. The Falcons’ next two games are against Chicago (home) and Green Bay (road), which both started 2-0. The Falcons lost tackle Kaleb McGary to a possibly serious knee injury Sunday, as well as Takk McKinley (groin), who had been playing well, and others. Jones is clearly laboring on a sore hamstring. He also dropped a would-be touchdown pass from Russell Gage and acknowledged the injury impacted that play “a little.”

A 1-3 or 0-4 record could doom Quinn. But it seems like he’s doomed already. When asked how he thought the 0-2 start would impact his status as coach, Quinn responded, “No. 1, you just want to attack it a week at a time. Obviously, I’m disappointed with the way the game ended because there’s a lesson to be learned in the loss, you have to go finish it out.”

A familiar ending for the Falcons may lead to a familiar ending for their coach.

 

 

This prty well sums up the all-time NFL joke that’s is the Atl falcons.  Mayor Bottoms might consider having that ATL removed from jerseys.  What a disgrace!

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

And for another week at least the Falcons are a national laughing stock.

Who is the worst team in the NFL? It's up for debate now.

I'm conflicted.  You've got teams like the Jets that are just bad from top to bottom.  No one expects anything from them.  I think it's worse to have players and do what we've done.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, poutlipper said:

I'm conflicted.  You've got teams like the Jets that are just bad from top to bottom.  No one expects anything from them.  I think it's worse to have players and do what we've done.

When was the last time one of those teams did something this inept?

Yet the Falcons have the same record.... winless... 

You know what those teams have? Hope

The Falcons clearly don’t have that.

Doesnt matter what the score is as long as “Choke” is still the head coach...

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, mqg96 said:

The question is, how would Mike Smith in his best years (2008-2012) had been if he had Kyle Shanahan for a couple years? In comparison to Dan Quinn? 

Champs obviously. Even the superbowl collapse was waaay more on Quinn than Shanahan. Shanny is going to Shanny, as HC you should be full aware of the game management aspect. Since that's essentially the only thing you do on gameday. I guess you could give Quinn the excuse that he was calling the defense so he had too much on his plate, but I think recent history proves he's clueless regardless. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...