How can a team that went 5-0 to start the season totally collapse? That’s the question a lot of Falcons fans are asking this week.
Oh, don’t worry. The Falcons are asking that question, as well. It’s really horrible to see a team show so much promise and then just fall apart.
Atlanta has lost six in a row and seven out of the last eight games. Sunday’s loss in Charlotte was the final nail in this season’s coffin. Forget about the playoffs. Forget about this team winning out and having a miniscule shot. They’re done.
But how did this happen? Why did this happen? Well, it’s simple. The Falcons can’t score. They didn’t score Sunday, getting shut out 38-0. In the last eight games the Falcons have averaged 14.6 points per game. They scored 32.4 points per game in the first five games of the season.
How can a team with quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Julio Jones and an improving running back in Devonta Freeman be this bad? Well, it’s the offensive coordinator’s fault. Blame Kyle Shanahan. It better be his fault, or if not the Falcons will be looking for a quarterback soon.
Shanahan and Ryan have just not clicked. Something is just not working. New head coach Dan Quinn had never worked with Shanahan before, but for some reason gave him a three-year contract. Well, the last two years of that deal won’t be necessary.
Shanahan has to go. Quinn has to fire him. Either way, Quinn will be on the hot seat entering next season, but he doesn’t need to allow loyalty to a coordinator seal his fate. As we’ve learned from other coaches in the state, that doesn’t work.
Quinn is brand new, and we should give him another chance. This isn’t all his fault, but when a team falls apart like this the coach must be held accountable.
But the main issue is the Falcons have a talent problem. Years of bad drafts have caught up with this team, which is why team owner Arthur Blank must clean out his front office.
Thomas Dimitroff has had time to fix this, but the roster is just not good enough. Dimitroff and Scott Pioli need to go, and the Falcons need to get an experienced front office executive in to get this team on track. Don’t bring in some hot shot personnel type who is ready for his first general manager job, like Dimitroff was before 2008. Someone needs to be brought in that knows how to take the Falcons to the next level.
Dimitroff’s 2012 draft was a disaster, and not one of the six players drafted are even in the NFL, much less the Falcons. That was the season after he traded a ton of picks for Jones, and he had to hit home runs with fewer picks. Instead, Dimitroff reached on two offensive linemen – Peter Konz and Lamar Holmes – and they both flopped.
The Falcons do have some good players, but how many great players do they have? Ryan is not having a good season. Is that because he’s losing it now that he’s 30 years old or because Shanahan’s system has been a disaster? It’s hard to accept that Cam Newton, Carolina’s quarterback, has passed Ryan in the NFC South.
Desmond Trufant is a premier cornerback, but who else on the defense can claim that label? The defensive line puts no pressure on the quarterback, and while rookie Vic Beasley deserves more time before his final evaluation is made, the early returns are fairly ordinary.
Falcons’ fans are used to this. Unfortunately, they’ll let the season play out and see what’s what for the draft. But this is the third bad season in a row. They just changed the coach last year, so Quinn does deserve one more shot. But with a new stadium on the horizon in 2017, don’t expect Blank to be very patient.
Why should anyone, after seeing bad football from the Falcons the last eight games?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.