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Dan Quinn has three games to turn things around

Mike Florio

Despite owner Arthur Blank’s comments after the 1-4 Falcons surrendered 53 points in Houston last week that a coaching change isn’t in the works, it definitely could be.

A new report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL meshes with the warning shot fired last Sunday night on Football in America: With a pair of home games against the Rams and Seahawks before the bye, Quinn could be heading toward hearing “farewell” if he loses both of those games.

“According to people familiar with Blank’s thinking,” Rapoport reports, “the owner wants to see progress over the next three weeks before the Week Nine bye or changes could come, with Quinn among them.”

If there are any changes, Quinn should be the first one, frankly. Quinn fired all three coordinators after 2018, and he made himself the defensive coordinator. So he’s both generally and specifically responsible for the shameful performance of the defense in Week Five. Enhancing the chances of change is the fact that the team has three former head coaches from which to choose as the interim replacement: Raheem Morris, Dirk Koetter, and Mike Mularkey.

Talent isn’t the issue in Atlanta. Which means that coaching is. Which means that Quinn needs to figure out a way to win one of the upcoming two home games, or someone else will get a chance to turn around a lost season and audition to be the coach in 2020 and beyond.

Before those two games to finish out the first half of the season comes a game at Arizona, which has an offense that should be able to score 30 against Atlanta, if Houston can score 53. It’s on Quinn to light a fire under his defense on Sunday, and to keep his entire team properly focused on what should be a win before those back-to-back visits from elite franchise.

Still, no matter what happens today, losses to L.A. and Seattle quite likely will seal Quinn’s fate, with someone else coaching the final eight games after the bye. And no matter what happens in the next three games, it definitely feels like a coaching change is coming after the season at the latest, barring a turnaround more stunning than the final two quarters and overtime of Super Bowl LI.