Overreaction Monday: Falcons’ problems are between their ears

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn reacts after quarterback Matt Ryan fumbles during the second half of Sunday's 38-0 loss to Carolina. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc,com)

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn reacts after quarterback Matt Ryan fumbles during the second half of Sunday’s 38-0 loss to Carolina. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc,com)

Welcome back to Overreaction Monday, where a 5-0 record is fools gold.

FALCONS

Skinny: 6-7 with a six-game losing streak. Last game: Lost at Carolina 38-0. Next game: Sunday at Jacksonville.

Overreaction narrative: “Fire Dan Quinn! Fire Thomas Dimitroff! Fire Kyle Shanahan! Fire the guy who changes the heat bulbs at the concession stands that keep the bad hot dogs because I don’t like him, either. Fire! Fire! Fire!”

Reality check: Owner Arthur Blank says he has confidence in Quinn. I’m not really sure what that means but I’m 99.99 percent certain the head coach isn’t getting fired. Last week I asked Quinn if he could guarantee that both quarterback Matt Ryan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan would be back next season and he said yes. Dimitroff is in a bit of a different category because the Falcons have some obvious personnel issues, he shares blame for that — no, not all the blame but some of it — and it’s conceivable Blank will feel the need after this season’s collapse to fire somebody for public appearances. The status of other assistant coaches are uncertain. Quinn likely is evaluating his staff.

But let’s address the more immediate problems. The Falcons are devoid of any confidence right now. They came out Sunday at Carolina looking like they wanted to rip somebody’s head off but they lost their composure, played with no discipline and, after falling behind 21-0, checked out. Yes, they quit. Now, you’re not going to find anybody in the locker room or on the coaching staff who will admit players quit. But a team doesn’t lose 38-0 when players are going all out. This is what happened periodically over the last two years of the Mike Smith regime. Players stopped listening and, to some degree, stopped caring. Throw in incidents like Ra’Shede Hageman having a meltdown — requiring assistant Bryan Cox to pull him off the field — and cornerback Robert Alford whining to an official that Carolina receiver Ted Ginn Jr. pushed off on — instead of, you know, focus on making the tackle and then complaining — and that’s how you get 38-0.

Who’s responsibility is this? Ultimately, Quinn’s, because he’s pretty much the most important person in the organization after Blank. Any thoughts of pulling the plug on him are silly. But whatever he is doing to get his players’ attention isn’t working, because when players quit or play soft, that’s a reflection on their head coach. Does he need to bench a guy or two? Cut somebody? I don’t know. The NFL is a different animal. Teams don’t make mid-season trades and rarely flat-out release starters. Since the rest of the season is about player analysis, Quinn and his staff could start looking at backups and practice squad players. But the biggest issue right now is the Falcons are playing like the worst team in the NFL, and they’re not the worst team in the NFL. The problem is between the ears.

GEORGIA

Last week: Hired offensive coordinator Jim Chaney from Pitt and offensive line coach Sam Pittman of Arkansas.

Overreaction narrative: “I don’t care! What about Jacob Eason?!”

Reality check: This is me on my front lawn, yelling to punk cyberspace: Shut up about Jacob Eason already. Whether the touted quarterback recruit comes to Georgia or not, everything new coach Kirby Smart is doing right now is not about one player or one season. Would Eason help next season? Of course. But it’s ridiculous that expectations would be so high for a true freshman quarterback and ultimately the program’s success next year and beyond are going to be defined by big picture decisions, identity and coaching.

As for Chaney and Pittman, I like the hires. Georgia’s offensive line never seems to be as good as it’s supposed to be and Pittman should help in that area. He is a bit of a coach on wheels — this is his seventh stop since 2000, 11th since 1995 — but he has become known as one of the nation’s best O-line coaches. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and players tried to talk Pittman into staying. Bielema also appeared upset about Pittman’s decision and regretted not putting a no-compete clause in his contract.

“Probably the only mistake I made in retrospect was as I didn’t put it in there,” Bielema said. “He kind of always made the comment that, ‘You don’t have to worry about me going.’

Chaney has a reputation as a strong quarterbacks coach and coached the spread offense with Drew Brees at Purdue and pro style offenses elsewhere, including Tennessee and Pitt.

Smart’s decision to not retain defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt (who has returned to Alabama) is debatable. But if there was significant concern over whether Pruitt would be a disruptive influence on a new staff it’s also understandable. It would be a greater concern if Smart wasn’t a defensive coordinator himself. He should be able to hire a strong staff on that side of the ball.

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214 comments
candlin14
candlin14

Hey Schultz, if Quinn thinks Shanahan should come back next year then it shows that Quinn is a complete idiot. Quinn made the dumbest coaching move of the season by kicking a field goal at the one yard line when your down by FOUR on the road with only 2.5 minutes left in the game. Shanahan should have been gone after the loss to the Colts. What was the worst that could have happened, we lose the rest of our games???? We have already done that!!! There is no way in hell Ryan goes from a 28-35 TDs a year QB to a guy who plays like one of the worst QBs in the game. Shanahan has ruined this guy and he needs to go...


As for UGA, they go out and do the exact same thing the Falcons did and that was hire an un-proven assistant coach from a Great program whose head coach runs the show. UGA could have got damn near anyone they wanted and they pull the trigger on Smart. We will quickly see if Smart is in way over his head just like Quinn is right now. The Chaney hire is AWFUL, flat out terrible. The moves UGA made will be result in the same firings that just took place three or four years from now... MARK MY WORDS!!!

RomanLegions
RomanLegions

Nah...Falcons problem wears a suit and wears a funny haircut named Dimitroff..And  dreadlocks..too worried about they dreads!!

Grant1296
Grant1296

Time for Jacob to get back out on the recruiting trail.

Dead period doesn't apply to him.

dawg fan
dawg fan


Welcome aboard Jacob!!  It looks like the Richt fans will have to find something else to whine about now.  “I always just kind of knew I was still committed to Georgia through the tough times and hard times,” Eason said. “I didn’t want to break that commitment just because a couple of coaches got fired."  LOL.  Couldn't have said it better myself.  The Fan Club could learn a lot from this young man. 


Grant1296
Grant1296

You referring to JT Techeye?

OH:IO
OH:IO

Maybe Savior Skinny can save the Falcons too! 

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

In other news Urban demands a new spelling test this week for the team and the bonus word is solicitation. Spelled correctly by 5 team members but it was later discovered they all cheated and used their court summons.

Ah little bucky just too easy!

OH:IO
OH:IO

Right on schedule, dogs win off-season National Championship. 


DawginLex
DawginLex

@OH:IO  Right on cue, you are still the biggest trolling moron

TOJacket
TOJacket

Well let me be the first to wish this young man the best of luck at The University of Georgia!

Grant1296
Grant1296

Guess there won't ba a triumphant Tampa return...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO @Grant1296 

Aw, shucks. 

I was waiting for another one of his lying, rationalizing, whining, condescending, hypocritical, narcissistic, cowardly, smarmy, smug returns.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

For their next trick little bucky and gtcary will attemp to hump a football. Get ready folks!

Grant1296
Grant1296

Not everyone is as mature as you are Techeye...

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Grant1296 Grant you madcap!!!.......where have you been?......good to see ya on the screen again.....big day for your dawgs huh?

Grant1296
Grant1296

Chicago...

Thought I'd take a minute and slap Ohio around a bit...

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Love to watch grant make little bucky look stupid. Wait, he makes himself look stupid. Grant just TKO's him.

dawg fan
dawg fan

I'm not sure where anyone in their right freaking mind would say that Kirby didn't make Eason a priority.  You've got to be one delusional butthurt hater to say that.  If he goes elsewhere it won't be because Kirby didn't try.  It also won't be the end of the freaking world.  There are other QB prospects out there believe it or not.  I hope we get him for no other reason than preventing a bunch of whining out of the Richt fans over what a huge mistake we've made firing Coach Nyquil, but I'm not going to be clamoring for The Hero to come back if we don't.  You don't make huge decisions on the future of your program based on one QB recruit.  I think that's the only point Schultz was trying to make. 

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Its just little bucky and his butt hurt sidekick gtcary making all the noise as usual. All is good.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@twelveofthirteen  I was talking to Mark Richt Super Fan MikeS777.  The dude needs some counseling or something.  He's still taking the firing of his hero pretty hard. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

Who the heck is Lilly and Sherrer?............are they at Bama or UGA?.........do these guys get doubletime?

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Two coaches that were on the winning side of 13-7 and 8-0 at the joke. All you need to know old man.

OH:IO
OH:IO

You want overreaction?


Wait until Savior Skinny goes to the gators! 

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

He is here all week folks. Little bucky and the gt old man sidekick at your service.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

What do all tech fans and little bucky share in common you might ask? Butt hurt over the dawgs and a losing record! Ha ha ha little bucky. Now go play in the sandbox with your new old timer friend who is a complete dumb @$$!