WATCH: Dan Quinn's job now tied to Falcons defensive assistants

Dave Holcomb

The Atlanta Falcons won their first game in nearly two months against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. But in some ways, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn still lost.

During the team's bye week prior to facing the Saints, Quinn completely removed himself from defensive playcalling, and right away, the Falcons defense improved. While Quinn remains the team's defensive coordinator, linebacker coach Jeff Ulbrich and new secondary coach Raheem Morris took over that responsibility in Week 10. 

According to Steve Wyche of NFL Network, Ulbrich called first and second-down plays while Morris called third-down plays and orchestrated the two-minute defense. This will reportedly remain the plan moving forward.

The fact Ulbrich has actually been calling some of the defensive plays since Week 6 helps Quinn's reputation, but the immediate defensive improvement on third down with Morris doesn't reflect well on Quinn because under his tutelage the Falcons were allowing opponents to convert 53 percent of their third-down opportunities.

With Morris calling plays last Sunday, the Saints went just 3 of 12 on third down.

Prior to the victory against the Saints, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that it was his understanding that Quinn will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis moving forward. Assuming that's still the case, Quinn passed his first evaluation with flying colors.

He passed not on his own merit alone, though, but in large part because of defensive playcalling from Ulbrich and Morris.

Now, let's give Quinn some credit. He played a big hand in a masterful game plan against the Saints, and his decision to move Morris from wide receiver to secondary coach has made an immediate impact.

However, moving forward, Quinn's job is now tied not just to his performance, but also to Ulbrich and Morris continuing to improve the defense during the second half of the season.

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