Falcons' Dan Quinn won't give up defensive play-calling: 'If I felt it was best, I would have done that'

Few seats are hotter right now in the NFL than the one Dan Quinn is sitting on, considering Jay Gruden's has already been incinerated by the Washington Redskins. The 2019 season was one the Atlanta Falcons entered with high expectations -- as was the year prior and the one before that -- but they've yet again run face-first into a buzzsaw.

For the second consecutive season, the team is off to a 1-4 start, and it's all Quinn can do right now to stave off calls for his head in North Georgia. The Falcons finished just 7-9 last season following that whimper of a start and aren't on track at the moment to finish any better this time around, and a key reason is, well, nearly everything. Their offense has a former league MVP in Matt Ryan, a perennial All-Pro wideout in Julio Jones and one of the best young receivers in the league in Calvin Ridley, and yet they're averaging only 20.4 points per game -- good enough to be just 20th in the NFL in that category.

They're much worse defensively, currently allowing the second-most points per game by opponents this season (30.4), behind only the winless and hapless Miami Dolphins.

"My job is to fix it," Quinn said as the team looks to change their path this week against the Arizona Cardinals, via ESPN. "Moments like this are a reminder of why we coach and play, because we love it so much. But my ego would never be as big as the team. I always do what's best for the team."

What's best for the Falcons right now, Quinn believes, is to leave defensive play-calling duties right where they are -- with him.

"If I felt [giving up the playcalling] was best, trust me, I would have certainly done that," he said. "I know what we can do, we can do better. So that's kind of where my mind is. I recognize the question, for sure, when you're not achieving the results you have. 

"But trust me on that one: My ego is never as big as the team. I will always do what's best for that. But at this time, I don't think that's where I'm at."

Quinn took over defensive play-calling duties after the team divorced with Marquand Manuel following the 2018 season.

His decision to stand firm comes on the heels of allowing the Houston Texans to rack up 53 points and 592 yards of total offense. The Texans also went 10 for 13 or third down (77%), 4 for 5 on fourth down (80%) and 3 for 3 in the red zone with goal to go. There are more numbers that could be plopped down here from Week 5 or virtually any other week to drive home the point, but you already know where this leads. Fact is, the Falcons aren't good on offense and are terrible on defense, but Quinn believes a few minor tweaks is all they need.

Nothing points to that being accurate, but Quinn better hope so, or the next tweak won't be a minor one. It'll be owner Arthur Blank finding a new head coach, yet again, in his pursuit for the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl win. The Quinn-led Falcons nearly achieved said feat in Super Bowl LI, before blowing a 28-3 lead against the New England Patriots and losing 34-28. Considering there's one who just got the ax in Washington and might be a fit in Atlanta, Quinn better "fix it" quickly.

The Falcons will now head to Arizona and should they fall to 1-5, the gauntlet that follows threatens a possible 1-9 start to the season -- as they'll face the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints (who might again have Drew Brees) and then the Carolina Panthers (who might again have Cam Newton). 

Tough scene, but it's one Quinn thinks he has the answers for.

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