With their record at 1-6, the Falcons have no more playoff hopes. As we looked at last week, the only team that recovered from a 1-6 record to make the playoffs was the 1970 Cincinnati Bengals, and that was in a weak AFC Central division.
The Falcons may limp past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into third place in the NFC South but they’re lost in the dust generated by the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. That means the Falcons are left with only one goal remaining to accomplish in 2019. The team has nine games remaining to find out if the young talent on the roster can play big-league football. It’s time to get that talent off the inactive list and onto the field.
To start with, why has defensive tackle Deadrin Senat disappeared from active duty? Senat looked promising after playing in 15 games in 2018, starting two, and had a strong 2019 preseason. Yes, Allen Bailey has had a strong season lining up next to Grady Jarrett but the Falcons can save $3 million of cap space if they opt-out of his deal for 2020. The team needs to find out if they’re third round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft is worth keeping on the roster.
Also, on the defensive line, you would think that as bad as Vic Beasley and disappointing as Takk McKinley have been, how could the pass rush situation get any worse if John Cominsky received increased playing time at defensive end? Think about it, the Falcons have gone four straight weeks without recording a sack.
At running back, the Falcons have five on the roster but only Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith have seen extensive playing time. The only reason Brian Hill got carries last week against the Los Angeles Rams was because Freeman got ejected for throwing a punch at Aaron Donald, of all people, and Ito Smith suffered a concussion.
Considering that Freeman has only been a shadow of his Pro Bowl self so far this season, Qadree Ollison has to get some touches so that a proper evaluation can be made of their fifth-round, 2019 draft pick.
The list begins with the above names but there are more that should see a significant bump in snap counts like receivers Russell Gage and Olamide Zaccheus and linebacker Foyesade Oluokun.
If Dan Quinn wants to revive hopes of keeping his job as the Falcons head coach, winning meaningless games with the current lineup of failures and retreads won’t do it. Winning meaningless games with the young talent that’s currently rotting on the bench might be just the thing to change some minds.