Atlanta Falcons experience a shaky season start

The Falcons are currently on a four-game losing streak that includes a home loss to the Arizona Cardinals, who are led by the rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

After a 7-9 season in 2018, the Atlanta Falcons were looking to bounce back to the form that earned them a Super Bowl berth in 2016. With offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter joining the staff after being fired as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the offense was expected to be one of the best in the league. Fast forward to the opening game of the season in Minnesota against the Vikings; the Falcons only managed to put up 12 points against a solid Vikings defense. The following week on Sunday Night Football, the Falcons hosted the 2017 super bowl champs, the Philadelphia Eagles, in a showdown of NFC powerhouses.

The Falcons put up their best team performance of the season that game, ending with a Julio Jones touchdown to put the Falcons ahead with 2 minutes left in the game. Atlanta would go on to win the game 24-20. In the following weeks, things started to go awry. In a week three loss against the Indianapolis Colts, defensive star Keanu Neal went down with an Achilles injury. The fourth-year safety suffered his second straight season ending injury after tearing his ACL in the opening game of the 2018 season. He is expected to be back and healthy for the 2020 season. This season, the organization has expressed support for head coach Dan Quinn, but that could soon be lost if the team does not quickly turn things around.

Much of the criticism has been revolving around the team’s lack of offensive production. The offense led by former league MVP Matt Ryan and all-pro wideout Julio Jones put up only 10 points in a home loss to the Tennessee Titans. The optimism for this team is quickly fading. After dropping to 1-5 and last place in the NFC South the Falcons currently have a less than 5% chance of making the playoffs. In the last two weeks against the Texans and Cardinals, the offense has produced which is a good sign looking ahead.

The defense has struggled greatly, allowing 53 and 34 points in back to back weeks. Should this continue it is quite likely the owner Arthur Blank and general manager Thomas Dimitroff could cut ties with Dan Quinn and begin the search for a new head coach at seasons end. “The Falcons have had a pretty rocky start,” said GHC student Grant Hegstetter when asked about the teams 1-5 start, “They are not rushing the ball well and the offensive line has been doing poor but those are both things that can change fast”.

Hegstetter continues to remain optimistic and thinks that a coaching change is not necessary. “When you put that type of pressure on a coach it also puts unneeded pressure on players to perform,” he said. The remainder of the season will be very telling about the direction the Falcons are going and the future of Coach Quinn.