Quinn’s job security openly addressed by players

092720 Atlanta: Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and team owner Arthur Blank watch the team prepare to play the Chicago Bears Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in what some are calling a must-win game for the 0-2 Falcons. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

092720 Atlanta: Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and team owner Arthur Blank watch the team prepare to play the Chicago Bears Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in what some are calling a must-win game for the 0-2 Falcons. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who’s owned the team since 2002, has never fired a coach in-season.

Blank, through a team spokesman, would not comment about Dan Quinn’s future following Sunday’s 30-26 loss to Chicago.

Quinn, who’s in his sixth season and is one of two coaches to guide the franchise to a Super Bowl appearance, was asked about his coaching future.

“Well, yeah, we visit every week — pregame, postgame, Mondays, through the week — but any time honestly that I take away from that is time that all I can do is be in front of the team,” Quinn said. "I said, I need to be the same guy on our best days and our worst days and stand tall for them and bring the energy and the coaching and the focus that we need to go win.

“Anything past that does not help the team. So, all I can focus on is us playing better and finishing better, and so that’s where my focus will be and remains to be.”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Quinn is 43-40 in the regular season and 46-42 overall.

The Falcons blew a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter Sunday, losing 30-26 to the Bears at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

That humiliating loss came just a week after the team blew a 29-10 halftime lead and lost 40-39, when the players did not jump on a slow-rolling onside kick in the final seconds that would have preserved the win. Blank said he felt the players clearly didn’t know what to do on the play.

The Falcons are now the first team in NFL history to lose back-to-back games in which it led by 15 or more points in the final period, according to STATS.

Last week, Atlanta became the first team to score 39 points with zero turnovers and lose, dating back to 1933 when turnovers were first recorded, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Teams are now 440-1 in the scenario.

The Falcons also had a historic collapse in Super Bowl LI when they lost to the New England Patriots after leading 28-3.

Falcons players support their coach.

“Yeah, we have coach Quinn’s back,” cornerback Darqueze Dennard said. "DQ is a great coach. I love him. I know the rest of the guys in the locker room love him. It’s just, it’s kind of disappointing for me because he (does) a great job with everything. We are just not getting the results that we all want

“He’s a great coach and we all love him and are still fighting for him, 100%.”

Falcons defensive end Dante Fowler spoke to the team after the game.

“I lead when the times are right,” Fowler said. “I felt like something was telling me to speak up at that time. When I talk people usually listen because I am always a happy, fun guy to play with. I wanted to let them know I have been on teams in these types of positions before and we have been able to come out of this and be successful. We are a good physical team, but I want us to be a good mental team as well.”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Falcons have not been able to close out games after playing well for a half in all of their games this season.

“I do not know how to explain it,” Fowler said. “All I can say is that we have basically found the ways to lose these games. It gets no worse than this. We found probably the two worst ways to lose a football game. I feel like it can only come up from here. It can only be better from here.”

Wide receiver Calvin Ridley believes the players are the reason for the collapses.

“It’s on us,” Ridley said. “We are not playing. It’s on us. We have to win the games. We have to do better as players. That’s all it is I have to make plays. We have to make plays.”

In 2003, Blank told Dan Reeves he would be terminated with three games to play and wanted him to stay on. Reeves walked into retirement and Wade Phillips finished out the season as the interim coach.

Jim Mora, who took the Falcons to NFC title game, was fired after the 2006 season.

Bobby Petrino quit 13 games into the 2007 season and Emmitt Thomas finished out the season as the interim coach.

Mike Smith, the winningest coach in Falcons history, was terminated after the 2014 season and two losing seasons. He was 66-46 from 2008 to 2014.

Quinn has the Falcons off to another slow start at 0-3 with a Monday Night game coming up against Green Bay, who will likely be heavily favored.

The Falcons started 1-7 last season and 1-4 in 2018. They have not been to the playoffs since the 2017 season.

But the way the Falcons are losing the games, by blowing double-digit leads in the fourth quarter, has to be disturbing.

“You know, we’ve got his back,” quarterback Matt Ryan said when asked if he thought Quinn would be fired. "We’ve got to play better as players, and that’s what you have to focus on. I think when things aren’t going good or going well, it’s easy to look around and see what everybody else is doing or where everybody else is screwing up.

“The only way we’re going to improve as a unit is if we all kind of look in the mirror and find ways to improve individually and make sure that we’re the best version of ourselves individually when we go out there.”

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