With a disappointing winless start to the season, the Atlanta Falcons look to overcome adversity in the coming weeks. Their 0-5 record (for the first time since 1997) stems from injuries and a struggling coaching situation. The Falcons are one of only three winless teams this season, but a change in the coaching staff may turn things around for the team.
This week, the Atlanta Falcons announced the removal of head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff from the organization.
Quinn had been head coach in Atlanta for six seasons, with a 43-42 record overall and the infamous Super Bowl LI loss. Dimitroff’s thirteen seasons in Atlanta yielded the drafting of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, but he has also had his fair share of draft failures.
Upon this announcement, the Falcons have named defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as interim head coach.
Morris has coached for 17 years, including head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two years. Morris also played a key role in the Falcons 6-2 second half of the 2019 season.
With the Falcons three wins out of contending in the NFC South, Morris has his work cut out for him. The Falcons have been plagued with injuries early on, losing their starting safety Damontae Kazee and star receiver Julio Jones. Kazee’s season-ending injury harms Atlanta’s already struggling defense, now missing a key player that lead the team in tackles.
Meanwhile, Jones’ injury and questionable reurn leaves the offense without their top receiver, calling on less-experienced guys to step up.
Despite the poor start to the season, the Falcons offense, led by quarterback Matt Ryan, continues to average almost 400 yards per game.
With Jones temporarily out of the picture, receivers Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage have started stepping up. Calvin Ridley is ranked 4th among receivers in the league in receiving yards so far this season, contributing to the Falcons offensive success.
However, the offense has struggled to score as of late with only 16 points to show for in weeks 3 and 4.
As for the defense, the Falcon’s 31st ranked defensive line is among the worst in the NFL.
Giving up nearly 450 yards and 32 points per game on average, the defense has done little to help their offensive counterpart. The defense has forced very little turnovers, and has yet to score any points for the Falcons.
After blowing two 15-point fourth quarter leads in weeks 2 and 3, the Falcons became the only team in NFL history to do so in one season.
Falcons former head coach Dan Quinn has been in question for the past two seasons, where the Falcons struggled early on and failed to reach the playoffs.
Their 1-7 start in 2019 warranted Quinn to be removed from defensive play-calling duties, which then lead to a 6-2 record for the remainder of the season.
For the 2020 season, Quinn resumed his involvement in defensive play-calling.
The results speak for themselves.
The Falcons travel to Minnesota to face the 1-4 Vikings this upcoming Sunday and with new coaching they look to turn their season around.
The Vikings have struggled on both sides of the ball this season, creating a hopeful outlook for the Falcons as Raheem Morris takes the reigns.