By Josh Shippen
OK let’s open with the obvious, the Falcons are a hot steamy mess right now. They have opened 0-5 for the first time ever since having Matt Ryan as their starting QB, this year they became the first time to lose in back to back weeks when having a double digit fourth quarter lead, and they ended up having to fire Thomas Dimitroff (General Manager), and Dan Quinn (Head Coach). For most Falcons fans, the big question has been what now?
Starting with the head coach, Raheem Morris is not going to work for multiple reasons. The most obvious reason is that Morris has already been tested as an NFL head coach, the Buccaneers from 2009-11. That did not go well with 3 wins in 2009, and 4 wins in 2011 (They did get 10 in 2010 but they still missed the playoffs). Additionally, Morris is a defensive minded head coach, and we saw how having a “defensive coach” affects the team in Dan Quinn. Morris’s defense blew two massive leads this season, and has failed to ever get a stop, so it is safe to say he is not the long term answer in Atlanta. As far as who the next head banana should be, I think we should all just sit tight to see the offseason options before jumping to conclusions, although I will say I have my eye on Robert Salah (49ers defensive coordinator)
Let’s move on to the offense, which has been disappointing this year, no it hasn’t just been this defense. Matt Ryan should still be considered the long term starter, mostly because there are no better options, but they need to get a consistent offensive line, and Julio needs to be healthy. So everyone please stop panicking about Matt Ryan’s future with the Falcons, he will be back next year and everything will be fine, I can almost guarantee it.
Next, let’s talk about this awful defense. The Falcons have been hanging on to most of these guys for a while now, and surprise surprise, their defense has been bottom five for the last five years or so. Starting with the secondary, the Falcons really hurt themselves with releasing Desmond Trufant in the offseason, who while he wasn’t what he used to be, wasn’t a problem for this team. At this point, you have to wonder what kind of trade value you could get for Keanu Neal, who is very good when healthy, but isn’t ever healthy. Finally, the Falcons need to start banking on some of their defensive draft picks, I know it’s early but AJ Terrell and Marlon Davidson do not look like they are working out.
Finally the front office. Rich McKay got ousted from the job by Thomas Dimitroff, and now he’s back. The Rich McKay era saw Michael Vick, and we all know how all of that one ended up working out. Anyway, 2007 (McKay’s last year) saw us getting the league lit up with Chris Redman, which is why I imagine Dimitroff was allowed to take the reins. McKay cannot be trusted as a long term general manager, so the Falcons need to figure that one out in the offseason.
As far as 2021 is concerned, it all depends on the offseason. The Falcons have a lot of crucial decisions to make, but given the little snippets Arthur Blank has given us I think it is safe to say that they are looking to blow the whole thing up, which might mean a rough 2021 season. After that, I would be cautiously optimistic. We have seen flashes from the Falcons, and if it was all a coaching problem, it’s completely possible they return to that Super Bowl level play very soon. Just don’t hold your breath for 2021 to be an incredible season.