Watch: There is No Defense This Season for Dan Quinn as Falcons Coach
Six weeks ago, no one saw this coming. The Falcons were preparing to face the Minnesota Vikings and Dan Quinn had promised physical play from a defense that would be under his direction. If he meant physical in the manner of his defenders getting the snot kicked out of them week after week, then he’s succeeded.
Marquand Manuel, the Falcons defensive coordinator in 2018, left Atlanta with bus prints on his face after his unit finished in the bottom third of the league in points allowed, total yards allowed, passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed.
Injuries were one thing that was allowed by the Falcons in 2018 and there were plenty of those, many on the defensive side of the ball and of the season ending variety. Still, those couldn’t be looked at as an excuse, unless you were Dan Quinn of course.
Heading into Week 1, Quinn brought a completely healthy defense to U.S. Bank Stadium and got run back out of town by Dalvin Cook. The Falcons defense did stand toe-to-toe and slugged it out with the Philadelphia Eagles in the Week 2 home opener but have been running from punches ever since.
In the past two weeks, the Falcons have face two of 2019’s worst offensive lines at protecting their quarterbacks and both Marcus Mariota and Deshaun Watson walked off the field at the end of their games without a scuff on their uniforms.
At the finish of the Tennessee Titans 24-10 win over the Falcons, Mariota had completed 66 percent of his passes, threw three for touchdowns and compiled a 129.7 quarterback rating. Last week, Watson threw 28 passes in 33 attempts for 426 yards, 5 touchdown passes and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. That performance tied a record set by Jared Goff in 2018 for most pass attempts in a game where the quarterback achieved a perfect passer rating.
For Falcons fans who thought Watson’s performance was tough to swallow while watching it live, you should watch the coach’s film on NFL Game Pass. Quinn’s defensive calls were comical. On Houston’s second touchdown, the 33-yard pass from Watson to Will Fuller, the Falcons rushed three men and dropped eight into coverage. Fuller still managed to break wide open and provide an easy target for Watson to hit for the touchdown.
Last week’s game was filled with those moments. Even when the Falcons blitzed a linebacker they pulled a lineman into coverage which still left them with a four-man rush. It doesn’t even take watching the game film to see it. After the game last Sunday, Falcon Maven editor Dave Holcomb had plenty to say about the Falcons defense. He called it, “…a scared defensive game plan.”
That’s a perfect description of how Quinn’s defense has looked, especially the last three weeks. That is also not the defensive personality that Falcons fans were promised heading into the 2019 season. Quinn has failed to instill an attitude and physicality to the Falcons defense so far and there’s no sign that the switch is going to flip to “on” anytime in the near future. Because of that, there’s no defense for keeping Quinn in position as head coach of the Falcons.