Watch: Dan Quinn is Playing “Where’s Deadrin Senat?” with Falcons Fans

Tom Pollin

Remember the Where’s Waldo series of children’s books. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn certainly does, except he’s playing the game with defensive tackle Deadrin Senat. Problem is, Quinn doesn’t seem to understand the concept. Waldo is well hidden but is in every picture. Look through film and pictures of the 2019 Atlanta Falcons and other than preseason action, Senat doesn’t show up anywhere.

So far in 2019, the Falcons have rotated Tyeler Davision and Jack Crawford to play next to Grady Jarrett, who’s having a Pro Bowl caliber season at defensive tackle. Allen Bailey has also taken snaps next to Jarrett. The problem is, Davison signed a one-year deal and Crawford is on the last year of his contract. As for Bailey, the Falcons can save $3 million against their 2020 salary cap if they opt out of his deal this offseason.

The hope is that a free agent will become a permanent fixture at his position. At the very least, you hope they fill the hole at the position until the team can draft someone that they project has talent to start. Hole fillers is what the Falcons have with their current free agent defensive tackle rotation.

The problem is, the Falcons have already made the draft move. They selected Senat in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and you don’t select someone in the third round unless you’re projecting him to develop into a starter.

Senat played 15 games in 2018 and started two. That put him on the field for 34 percent of the Falcons defensive snaps and he took advantage of those opportunities. Senat was credited with 30 tackles, two for loss. He also had two quarterback hurries and three quarterback hits. That was dramatically more production than the Falcons received from Jack Crawford and Terrell McClain last season.

In the 2019 preseason, Senat produced 12 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. That work should have earned him a look as the starter next to Jarrett, or at least earn him a spot in the defensive tackle rotation.

Instead, Dan Quinn keeps rotating in tackles who are as likely to be with other teams next season as they are to be with the Falcons. The team already has a huge hole on the defense at edge rusher. With their record at 1-7 and their window of opportunity at making the playoffs at zero, the Falcons need to know whether defensive tackle will be a serious need also.

So, “Where is Deadrin Senat?” The answer over the final eight games of the season better not be, on the inactive list. If it is, it will be another 2019 Dan Quinn failure that the Falcons will have to clean up in the offseason.