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Atlanta now 6-7 after an embarrassing loss in Charlotte to the Panthers

The 5-0 start for the Falcons is now a distant memory. The freshest memory is now a horrible loss in Charlotte to the first place Panthers.

Now that the Falcons have collapsed, and the season is basically in serious jeopardy, it’s not too early to wonder who might pay for the awful turnaround following the 5-0 start.

It’s unlikely the Falcons would pull the trigger and fire Dan Quinn, who is finishing his first year as head coach. Team owner Arthur Blank told ESPN Sunday he had “complete confidence” in Quinn, so it’s unlikely the Falcons will be looking for a new head coach.

But there are others that might be looking over their shoulder, specifically offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. He signed a three-year contract before the season, but Shanahan has been under constant scrutiny for an offense that was shutout on Sunday and has averaged just 14.6 points per game in this 1-7 stretch.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has struggled in Shanahan’s new offense. An offensive line, using the zone blocking scheme, looks nothing like it did in the first five games of the season. The running game is a shell of its former self, as Devonta Freeman has not been as effective since returning from a head injury.

Front office executive Thomas Dimitroff will undoubtedly be under fire. While Quinn has the last say on the roster, Dimitroff’s decisions have contributed to a team that simply doesn’t have enough talent.

With the release of Lamar Holmes last week, there is not a single player left on the roster from the six players drafted by Atlanta in 2012. While the offensive line was rebuilt in training camp with the trade bringing Andy Levitre in and the earlier summer signing of Chris Chester, the lack of development of Holmes and Peter Konz has been a huge issue the last few years as older players (Todd McClure, Harvey Dahl and Tyson Clabo) moved on.

Now with the new scheme, the line is struggling. Will the Falcons pursue better talent for the line of scrimmage this offseason? But why was this current unit more effective earlier in the season but is struggling now?

There are so many questions, and Quinn and his coaching staff, along with Dimitroff, will likely have to provide Blank some answers as the season comes to an end.

The fans, particularly the ones being asked to pay a lot of money for personal seat licenses at the new stadium, will be asking the questions as well.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

 


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