Quinn confident 0-4 start won’t eliminate Falcons from NFC South race

After the Falcons' record dropped to 0-4, Falcon coach Dan Quinn met postgame with owner Arthur Blank, but his future with the team was not discussed.

“We visited after the game,” Quinn said after the game. “We both spoke to (injured free safety Damontae) Kazee just to give him a hug and let him know that we were thinking about him, but nothing past that.”

Earlier in the day, Houston parted ways with coach/general manager Bill O’Brien, who had the Texans off to a 0-4 start.

For the third year in a row, the Falcons have started slowly. They started 1-4 in 2018 and 1-7 last season. They’ve finished 7-9 overall in each of the past two seasons.

Blank was impressed with the team’s 6-2 finish last season and was expecting that to carry over into 2020.

Quinn knows this season’s team was expected to be a playoff contender and acknowledged that there is more pressure.

“Yeah, I think so,” Quinn said. “Knowing where we are at, it’s certainly not the start that any of us envisioned or wanted. It’s confusing. It’s frustrating for everybody, but I also told them that it’s the people inside the locker room that get to fix that, that get to change it.”

The Falcons are in last place in the NFC South behind Tampa Bay (3-1), New Orleans (2-2) and Carolina (2-2), this week’s opponent.

“Nothing has been decided,” Quinn said. “Our division (play) starts. All of our focus all of our energy just is onto Carolina, that’s how it has to be.”

Even with the injuries starting to mount, the Falcons believe they can get a roll.

“We’ve got 12 games to go and six of them are in our division,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. “We have some definite ground to make up. We have to find a way to make it up quick. So, you can’t feel sorry for yourself.”

After hosting Carolina, the Falcons play Minnesota (1-3), Detroit (1-3), Carolina for the second time and Denver (1-3) before their bye week.

“Momentum can happen quickly,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “The ability to rip off a couple of wins in a row is something that we are capable of doing. But we’ve got to get it started now. We must find a way to get it done this week.”

The Falcons are starting to sound like a desperate team.

We’ve got to get a win, make something happen,” running back Todd Gurley said. “Better days. Better days. We’ll be alright. We just have to do it at the right pace. We have to turn it up.”

The Falcons were aware of the O’Brien firing and that Quinn’s future in Atlanta is not so bright.

“Not only the coaches job, but our jobs are on the line, too,” Gurley said. “That’s not out of our control because we are a part of the solution. Not just do better for (Quinn), but do better for ourselves.”

Quinn is hoping the second quarter of the season, turns out much better than the first four games, which saw the Falcons blow two fourth-quarter leads of 16 and 15 points in losses to Dallas and Chicago.

“Our second quarter can’t look like our first,” Quinn said. “I expect those two quarters of football to look a hell of a lot different on the results side. It’s got to look different from our first quarter.”

Quinn believes the Falcons can get things turned around.

“In my heart and in my head and everything that I believe in, I know that we can,” Quinn said. “I know that the second quarter of our season will look a lot different than our first. That’s, in fact, what I told the team. Nothing has been decided yet. We do have our first division game coming up here this weekend and we’re certainly looking forward to that.”

The Falcons must press on without Kazee, who appeared to rupture his Achilles against the Packers.

“I can’t confirm that, but we’ll be able to get a final confirmation (on Tuesday),” Quinn said. “It’s definitely a serious injury.”

Quinn has no plans to shut down wide receiver Julio Jones as he battles through a hamstring injury.

“We’ll see how he responds this week,” Quinn said. “It’s too early for us to tell if he’s going to be available for Carolina or not.”

The Falcons finished the game with Sharrod Neasman at free safety and Jamal Carter at strong safety. Carter was called up from the practice squad Monday.

“When you get to that spot, it’s all hands on deck,” Quinn said. "If that’s putting a linebacker at safety, it’s corners jumping into the space, by any means necessary, you go through it.

"We had Jamal (Carter) up. He was able to go play after (Jaylinn) Hawkins was injured. Neasman was one who jumped in after Kazee was injured. So, those are moments when guys are called upon we expect them to deliver. As you go through those injuries that’s part of it. They’ve gotten their reps at practice as well. "