RENTON — A headline in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week: “The Falcons’ season is gone. Dan Quinn needs to go.”
The Falcons have been perhaps the most disappointing team in the NFL this season, falling to 1-6 after getting walloped at home by the Los Angeles Rams, 37-10, on Sunday.
“The disbelief of us not playing at times like we’re capable, that can be very frustrating,” Quinn said after the loss.
Quinn, the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator from 2013-14, remains close with Pete Carroll, but no one at the VMAC is feeling sorry for Quinn as the Seahawks prepare to travel to Atlanta for a 10 a.m. kickoff Sunday.
“He’s on his own right now,” Carroll said Monday. “I’ll be happy to talk to him next week.”
Five things to know about the Falcons this week:
1. Just how bad is it for the Falcons?
Since blowing a 25-point lead to New England in the Super Bowl in February 2017, Atlanta has a 19-22 record.
The problems this season have been largely on defense. Atlanta ranks 31st in the NFL in scoring defense (allowing 31.9 points), 27th in total defense (387.7 yards) and dead last with just five sacks in seven games (and you thought the Seahawks’ pass rush had issues).
In a 53-32 loss to the Texans in Week 5, Atlanta allowed 592 yards and Deshaun Watson had a perfect passer rating. The Falcons led that game at halftime, 17-16.
And that is all happening with Quinn serving as the team’s defensive coordinator this season.
“I am at a disbelief at times for not playing like we are capable of — that could be very frustrating,” Quinn said. “When you don’t do that, you look and search for answers.”
2. Matt Ryan has a sprained ankle
Atlanta’s quarterback situation is up in the air this week.
Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP, sprained an ankle against the Rams on Sunday, putting his streak of 163 consecutive games started in jeopardy for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.
The Falcons are not expected to make a decision on Ryan’s availability until later in the week.
If Ryan is unable to play, Atlanta will turn to veteran backup Matt Schaub. The 38-year-old Schaub has appeared in two games this season, completing all 10 of his pass attempts for 65 yards, with one touchdown.
3. Fire sale?
The Falcons are expected to be active in the trade market ahead of next Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
They got a head start this week by trading one of their top wide receivers, veteran Mohamed Sanu, to New England for a second-round pick.
Up next could be tight end Austin Hooper or defensive end Vic Beasley, who led the NFL with 15.5 sacks in 2016 … and has just 11.5 sacks since then.
“I feel like we got the players in this room to win games,” Beasley told the Journal-Constitution. “I feel like we’re definitely capable of winning games. I feel like, if they feel I need a fresh start, that’s understandable. But the team here, the players here … is the same collection of guys who went to the Super Bowl a few years ago.”
4. They still have Julio Jones
The Falcons gave Jones a three-year, $66 million contract extension this summer, and at age 30 he remains one of the best receivers in the game.
He has 40 receptions for 560 yards this season, with six catches for 93 yards in the loss to the Rams. He has four TD catches, but none since Sept. 22.
After the loss to the Rams on Sunday, Jones reportedly asked to speak to the team in the locker room and proceeded to defend Quinn.
“This man has done everything for us … it’s on us,” Jones told teammates, according to a report from WSB-TV.
5. And they’re feeling feisty
Running back Devonta Freeman was ejected from Sunday’s game for throwing a punch at Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald after the 290-pound Donald picked up the 206-pound Freeman. Bad, bad, bad idea.
“It just can’t happen,” Freeman said later. “Both of us are pros. It wasn’t intentional or (anything) like that. I’m a competitor, and he’s a competitor. It just happened.”