The Atlanta Falcons have fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the team announced Sunday night. President and CEO Rich McKay will be in charge of the football operations. The team had not made a decision on who will serve as interim head coach, according to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero. They do employ two former NFL head coaches: Raheem Morris and Dirk Koetter; both of whom were with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers oddly enough.
Owner Arthur Blank explained why he came to the decision to fire Quinn and Dimitroff:
"Decisions like these are very difficult, but the previous two seasons and start to this one have been especially hard for me because of the deep love, admiration and respect I and my family have for Dan, Thomas and their families. For many years, they have represented me, our team, organization and Atlanta with class, commitment and all the passion you would want in the leaders of the team. But as everyone knows, this is a results business and I owe it to our fans to put the best product we can on the field. We have poured every resource possible into winning and will continue to do so, but the results of late do not meet our standard or what I've promised our fans. Therefore, we will install new coaching and personnel leadership of the Atlanta Falcons at the appropriate time.
"Our finish in 2019 earned an opportunity to show that momentum could be continued and built upon, but that has clearly not happened. And overall, the last 3-plus seasons have fallen short of my commitment to Atlanta and to our fans everywhere. I want them all to know that my commitment to winning has not wavered and I will continue to provide every resource possible to that end."
Earlier in the day, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported that Blank would fire Quinn barring a last-minute change of heart. Quinn's fate appears to have been sealed in a 23-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers that sent the Falcons to an 0-5 record. He is the second head coach fired this season following Bill O'Brien's dismissal last week.
Quinn was hired by owner Arthur Blank in February of 2015. Since that day, he has compiled a 43-41 regular season record as well as a 3-2 playoff record. The Falcons have been very streaky over a little more than a year. The team limped out to a 1-7 start in 2019, including a six-game losing streak before winning six of the remaining eight, including four games straight to save the coach's job.
Dimitroff, whose father Tom was also a long-time NFL scout, had served in the role for 12-plus seasons. Prior to his time in Atlanta, he had been the director of college scouting with the New England Patriots and previously a scout with the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. Dimitroff worked with two coaches -- Mike Smith and Quinn -- and compiled a 113-89 record, including playoffs, during that time. His time was highlighted by six trips to the NFL playoffs and three NFC South championships.
Quarterback Matt Ryan was asked about the team's play and its potential impact on Quinn's future as head coach following Sunday's loss:
"I think as players we have to play better. His messaging has been on point. Our play has not. That's what we have to focus on. I know I have to play better than I did today for sure and give our team a better chance ... I hope not," Ryan said, via a video from Fox Sports' Kelly Price, regarding the idea that Atlanta could move on from its head coach.
"I think Dan has been nothing but a great head coach since he has been here. We haven't done a good enough job as a team and as players. It's a hard business but we all love and respect what Dan does for this football team. We have to find a way as players to be better."
Atlanta's inability to close out games has been an issue dating back to the team's Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots after opening the game with a 28-3 advantage. The issues persisted, however, as CBS Sports' Jared Dubin writes. The Falcons held a 29-10 lead over the Dallas Cowboys and a 26-10 lead over the Chicago Bears before losing both games this season.