02 February 2015

Dan Quinn is the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons

(AP)
It has been a couple of weeks since the last NFL coaching vacancy was filled but hey, sometimes you have to wait to get the guy you want. That is what the Atlanta Falcons had to do in order to land their guy, Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (Adam Schefter had it first). The team had to wait for Quinn because his team was involved in a certain football game but now with the 2014 NFL season now finished, the Falcons have a new head coach.

Was their wait worthwhile? Here's my analysis.

Mike Smith did win more games than any coach in Falcons history, he was the first coach to lead the team to multiple winning seasons in a row (five in a row to be exact), as well as four playoff appearances in his first five years in town. He also came close to leading the franchise to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history in the 2013 NFC Championship Game. His tenure in the ATL largely was a success.

However, that game was symbolic of the problems with Smith's coaching tenure. As he established the Falcons as a consistent winner, the Falcons then became a common culprit of failing to meet expectations, and do not forget that the team blew both a 17-point lead and a 10-point lead to the 49ers at home in that game. What also did not hurt matters is that Smith was one of the worst coaches in the league when it came to clock management and particularly so this year as Smith helped to grab losses from the jaws of victory in games against Detroit and particularly so against Cleveland. The fact that a talented team such as his was not able to win a pretty feeble NFC South, especially when they needed to beat the Panthers to clinch a playoff berth at home in Week 17 and promptly lost by 31.

Who knows whether Quinn will be an upgrade in the clock management realm from his predecessor (although it would be impressive to see someone worse), but I think he brings some of what the Falcons need. Even as Smith has a defensive background, his defenses in Atlanta finished 24th, 21st, 16th, 12th, 24th, 27th and finally 32nd statistically. Quinn took a damn good defense under his predecessor Gus Bradley and made it even better, helping the Seahawks be the first time to go to back-to-back Super Bowls in a decade and winning the franchise's first Super Bowl in his first year on the job. Quinn should be able to improve the Falcons defense that sorely needs some upgrading. The fact that he's a Jersey guy certainly does not hurt.

The one thing with Quinn is that he is relatively inexperienced as he has only served as a defensive coordinator for four years, with two of those years coming at the University of Florida. Of course his defenses excelled at both stops, and he also coached some good lines before that in his multiple stops coaching defensive lines but regardless, he has had a relatively quick rise to be a head coach.

Quinn does not have to do a whole lot with the Atlanta considering the pieces in place like quarterback Matt Ryan and star wideout Julio Jones but bringing in Kyle Shanahan to run the offense was an excellent hire nonetheless. Shanahan is widely recognized as being a very bright playcaller and coordinator as he has gotten the most out of his quarterbacks seemingly every year. Pairing him with a talent like Ryan could really spice up the Atlanta offense.

I considered the Falcons to be the best job on the market this offense considering the state of the division as well as the presence of a legitimate franchise quarterback, and that means that Quinn has the opportunity to win right away. And I think he is the kind of coach that can make some things happen for the Falcons going forward. All in all, it's a pretty good hire.

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