Time to Rise Up
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The Atlanta Falcons are off to a 1-3 start. The beginning of the Dan Quinn era started great but it’s been all downhill since the Super Bowl LI debacle.
On Sunday, the Falcons lost to Tennessee (2-2) 24-10. The Titans are not a good football team and this was a home game, so this is a bad loss. The question is who is to blame for this terrible start? Can Atlanta turn this season around?
“It is a tough loss, and we’re as disappointed as our fans are,” Quinn said. “You better believe we’re going to look at everything. When you’re sitting at 1-3, you want to make sure you’re finding the answers.”
The first person to start with is head coach Dan Quinn. He took over as the HC in 2015. He’s a former defensive coordinator and so far he has not produced a good defense in Atlanta. They ranked 28th in total defense last season. This season they make every team look like super stars.
Marcus Mariota has been a bust thus far in his NFL career. He’s consistently injured and his play is inconsistent. He played poorly in the previous two losses before they broke that streak against the Falcons. He had 227 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions and completed 66% of his passes.
Rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown had 3 receptions, 94 yards and 2 TD’s. Derrick Henry rushed for 100 yards. You can see the defense didn’t stop the run or pass.
The talent on the roster has been built by Quinn over the last 5 years. Sadly, they are in the same position they were in back in 2015.
“When you see Atlanta, what bothers you is if they don’t get to the quarterback, it’s all about speed (in the secondary),” Phil Simms said on “The NFL Today” studio show. “They play one defense. Guys wide open.”
The defense under Quinn consistently has gaping holes in the zone coverage, poor angles to pass-catchers and lack of speed in the secondary. The first two things can be attributed to Quinn’s defensive design and poor technique by his players.
The strength is supposed to be on the offense and they are playing poorly. Dirk Koetter is back in his second stint as offensive coordinator in 2019.
He previously held the OC position in Atlanta from 2012-14. Some of the growing pains might be from him trying to get familiar with the new talent on the roster.
Atlanta also has a poor offensive line they tried to fix in the offseason. They drafted two offensive linemen in the first round and guard Chris Lindstrom broke his foot in the season opener.
Guard Jamon Brown left the Titans game with a concussion in the first half and could not return.
Center Alex Mack has never missed a game in his Falcons career but he had to leave Sunday’s game with an elbow injury. He was able to return later in the third quarter.
Because of the poor line play, Atlanta cannot run the ball or protect Matt Ryan. The Falcons are ranked 27th in rushing offense with 70 yards per game. Ryan has 8 TD’s and 6 interceptions this season.
He’s second in the league in passing yards behind Patrick Mahomes by less than 200 yards. The difference is Mahomes has 10 TD’s and no INT’s.
There are two division rivals playing with backup quarterbacks and Atlanta still will not win the division. Hopefully they end up with a top 5 pick at the end of the year.