WATCH: Why Falcons fans should expect Dan Quinn to remain defensive playcaller
Dan Quinn and the Falcons fired defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel after finishing 28th in total defense last year. But most didn't blame Manuel for that poor showing defensively, placing the blame on not having key players such as Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen and Deion Jones for most of last season.
Neal is out again, but with the exception of Desmond Trufant missing last week, the Falcons have everyone else healthy on defense. Yet with Quinn calling the defense this year, Atlanta has only improved to 26th in yards allowed per game through six weeks.
That's doesn't even speak to half of their struggles. The Falcons are 29th in takeaways with four, and two of those have come from their special teams. They are also second-worst in red-zone defense, yielding a touchdown on two-thirds of their opponents possessions that reach inside the 20-yard line. The Falcons are also last in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 56 percent of their third downs and last in sacks.
With those ugly stats, it's worth wondering whether Dan Quinn should admit naming himself the defensive playcaller was a mistake and give the duties to one of his assistants. While the Falcons don't have a defensive coordinator, they do have former defensive coordinator Bob Sutton on staff and a couple other capable defensive minds, who can call plays.
But Falcons fans can wonder all they want about Quinn's playcalling, a change isn't going to happen while he remains head coach. A lot was made about Quinn taking over the defensive playcalling this past summer, and him giving up the role now would be admitting defeat. It would be the defensive guru's way of saying to his team and fan base, you're in better hands with someone else running the defense.
Whether playcalling is truly the problem or not, Quinn can't let it look like he is conceding to the fact he is giving up trying to fix his own defense. Many believe his days in Atlanta are numbered anyway, but admitting that could speed up his exit with the Falcons.
For those reasons, a change at defensive playcaller midseason for the Falcons will only occur if Quinn is relieved of his head coaching duties too..