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#pounditWednesday, March 3, 2021

Articles tagged: Atlanta Falcons

Raheem Morris shows alarming lack of aggression against Panthers

Raheem Morris

The Atlanta Falcons have nothing to lose, but Raheem Morris was coaching Thursday as if that weren’t the case.

The Falcons got the ball first in their game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers. They drove inside the five and faced a 4th-and-1 at the Carolina 3-yard line. Rather than go for the first down, which would have given them four shots at a touchdown from just a few yards out, they kicked a field goal.

Atlanta took a 3-0 lead, but they quickly gave up a touchdown to the Panthers on the ensuing possession.

Going for it on 4th-and-1 from the 3 is an advised strategy. Not only does an offense have a good chance of converting on such a short-yardage situation, but the difference between 7 possible points and 3 is significant, and worth the risk. Additionally, even if you fail to convert, the opposing team is buried in their own territory and has to go 90-plus yards to score.

When you’re 1-6 and the interim coach, you should be even more incentivized to take worthy risks like that. Morris didn’t even try it. That’s the second week in a row the Falcons had questionable play near the end zone.

Photo: Thomson200/Wikimedia via CC0 1.0

Thomas Dimitroff discusses his reaction to ‘surreal’ firing by Falcons

Thomas Dimitroff

The Atlanta Falcons firing Dan Quinn following the team’s abysmal start to the season was expected by many. In fact, many people thought Quinn’s dismissal was long overdue. But what was surprising was learning that general manager Thomas Dimitroff was also fired.

During an interview with Peter King on “The Peter King Podcast,” Dimitroff admitted he was surprised by the firing.

“I have to be honest and say I wasn’t necessarily expecting the timing,” Dimitroff told King. “That said, this is a win-driven league. I was born and raised to understand they don’t necessarily hire you to retire you.”

Dimitroff said the situation is complicated and goes beyond just wins.

“I understand that it’s complicated. There’s so many levels to it. It’s not easy. It is wins, but there’s so many levels you could probably discuss … That said, surreal, uneasy, unexpected — all those things.

“I happened to be sitting down on my sofa in the morning, returning hundreds of texts … and I was literally looking up at ‘Good Morning Football,’ and I was watching my firing, so to speak. That’s a little odd.”

Dimitroff was the Falcons’ GM since 2008 and there was no hint that his job was in jeopardy. Plus, firing coaches midseason to try and spark a change happens frequently. Firing a general manager during the season happens infrequently.

The Falcons made the playoffs in six of the 12 full seasons for which Dimitroff was the general manager. They made one Super Bowl appearance, though we all know how that one went.

Could Falcons shop Matt Ryan, Julio Jones at trade deadline?

Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Falcons played inspired football on Sunday in their first game after former head coach Dan Quinn was fired, but they are still miles from playoff contention. Although trades involving star players are uncommon in the middle of an NFL season, there are some in the know who wonder if the Falcons could consider blowing up their roster.

According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler, there are people around the NFL who wonder if Matt Ryan and/or Julio Jones could be shopped ahead of the trade deadline, which is in two weeks. The belief is that the 1-5 Falcons are leaning toward a complete teardown, so selling off some assets could make sense.

Ryan, 35, has three more years remaining after this season on a contract that pays him $30 million annually. Jones is also signed through 2023 at an average salary of $22 million. Neither player would be easy to trade, but the Falcons may be willing to take less than market value if they can clear the money off their books.

The Falcons have been heading in the wrong direction since their epic collapse in the Super Bowl a few years ago. Team owner Arthur Blank recently made some comments that created doubt over Ryan’s future with the team, so it would not exactly be a shock if Atlanta moves on from him during or after the season.

Atlanta Falcons send perfect tweet during Cowboys-Cardinals game

Atlanta Falcons

The Arizona Cardinals held a 28-3 lead against the Dallas Cowboys on “Monday Night Football” at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and before anyone could make the joke, the Atlanta Falcons were all over it.

When the score became 28-3, the Falcons sent a tweet telling people not to even bother with the jokes.

For those with a short football memory, 28-3 was the lead the Falcons held in Super Bowl LI before losing 34-28 in overtime against the New England Patriots. The Falcons have heard plenty of jokes and know to expect them now.

Atlanta has even shown a few times over the last several months they now have a sense of humor over it. The Falcons were actually one of the fine parts of a bad sports weekend in Atlanta.

Colts, Falcons reopen facilities following false positive coronavirus tests

Colts logo

The Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts were the two latest NFL teams to close their facilities this week due to positive coronavirus tests, but fortunately both teams have already returned to business as usual.

The Falcons closed their facility on Thursday due to multiple positive COVID-19 tests. The Colts then issued a statement on Friday morning announcing that they were dealing with a similar situation. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, all of those tests for Indy were false positives. It sounds like the same was true for Atlanta.

That is obviously good news, though it is a reminder of how false positive tests can cause complications.

As of now, there have been no additional changes to the NFL’s Week 6 schedule. That can change at any time, especially with the health and safety protocols the league’s chief medical officer spoke about earlier in the week.

Arthur Blank raises doubts about Matt Ryan’s future with Falcons

Matt Ryan

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank raised doubts about quarterback Matt Ryan’s future with the organization on Monday.

Blank said that he wouldn’t be making the decision on Ryan’s future, and while he praised the quarterback, he certainly left the door open to moving on.

“Matt’s been a franchise leader for us, great quarterback; one of the leading quarterbacks in the last 13 years in the NFL,” Blank said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN. “I hope he’s going to be part of our plans going forward. But that will be a decision that I won’t make.

“Matt has the ability to play at a very high level, even at this age. Whether that’s going to continue or not, I’m not sure. I appreciate his willingness to consider doing that and the level at what he’s played for us for 13 years, which has been incredible. So we’ll have to see. But then again, that’s going to be a decision, at the end of the day, that part of it will be up to the player; part of it will be up to the coaching staff. And whether or not Matt can keep himself together.”

Blank has typically been fond of using the phrase “Falcon for life” about Ryan. He didn’t use it here, which is also telling.

The 35-year-old Ryan still puts up numbers, but hasn’t won as much. Last season, he threw 26 touchdowns to 14 interceptions in 15 games, and went a modest 7-8 as the team’s starter. With a new front office on its way in, the prospect of a rebuild may be on the table, and Ryan simply may not be part of that rebuild.

Falcons owner says season was playoffs-or-bust for Dan Quinn, Thomas Dimitroff

Dan Quinn

The Atlanta Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff this week after falling to 0-5 on the season. Based on the expectations that were set for them entering the year, neither should have been surprised.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank was very blunt on Monday when discussing the decision to fire both Quinn and Dimitroff. He said ownership made it clear entering the season that there was a “playoff-or-bust” mandate.

The Falcons have been trending in the wrong direction since their epic collapse against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl four years ago. They won a playoff game the following year, but they have had a losing record since then. Atlanta finished each of the last two seasons 7-9 and missed the playoffs.

It’s somewhat surprising that Dimitroff was fired, as he has been with the Falcons since 2008 and drafted Matt Ryan. Blank was clearly tired of the team underperforming and wanted a fresh start. The way in which the Falcons have lost some games this season almost certainly played a role in the decision to blow things up.

Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn fired by Falcons

Dan Quinn

The Atlanta Falcons on Sunday made some big changes and fired Dan Quinn as expected. But Quinn wasn’t the only one to lose his job; general manager Thomas Dimitroff also was fired.

The Falcons lost at home to the Carolina Panthers 23-16 on Sunday to drop to 0-5 on the season. A report from Jeff Schultz earlier in the day said that Quinn’s firing was coming. ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed later in the evening that Quinn had been fired, and he said Dimitroff got the ax as well.

Team CEO Rich McKay will take over football operations for now.

The Falcons have been trending in the wrong direction since their historic collapse against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl four years ago. They won a playoff game the following year and lost in the Divisional Round, but they have had a losing record since then.

Atlanta finished each of the last two seasons 7-9 and missed the playoffs. They are 0-5 this year.

Quinn finishes with a 43-41 regular-season record and 3-2 playoff record in six seasons with Atlanta.

The firing of Dimitroff is surprising. He has been with the team since 2008 and drafted Matt Ryan. Maybe Atlanta thought it was time to move on and make some major organizational changes.

Report: Dan Quinn to be fired by Falcons

Dan Quinn

The Atlanta Falcons lost to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday to fall to 0-5 on the season, and it sounds like they will have a new head coach for their next game.

Jeff Schultz of The Athletic reports that the Falcons have “all but finalized” their decision to fire head coach Dan Quinn. An announcement is expected at some point this week.

The Falcons have been trending in the wrong direction since their historic collapse against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl four years ago. They won a playoff game the following year and lost in the Divisional Round, but they have had a losing record since then.

Atlanta finished each of the last two seasons 7-9 and missed the playoffs. They’re heading for an even worse mark than that this year, and the way they have blown games is probably one of the main reasons Quinn is being fired.

Assuming he is fired, Quinn will finish with a regular-season record of 43-41 and playoff record of 3-2 with Atlanta.

Bears DB Tashaun Gipson found Falcons’ playcalling ‘confusing’

Dan Quinn

The Chicago Bears made a stunning comeback and beat the Atlanta Falcons 30-26 on Sunday, leaving some of their players surprised.

The Falcons were up 26-10 with under 10 minutes left in the game. The Bears got the ball and scored a touchdown. Then Atlanta went 3-and-out, throwing two passes on their three plays before punting. The Bears scored again, and Atlanta went 3-and-out again. The Falcons attempted three passes on the next possession — all incompletions.

Bears safety Tashaun Gipson said the three straight passes were surprising.

That was a solid 22-second possession for Atlanta.

After surrendering the lead on a third straight touchdown for Chicago, the Falcons put the finishing touches on their choke job by throwing an interception to Gipson. Given Atlanta’s penchant for blowing leads, the team has to be thinking about making some changes.