1. Quinn made the decision to free himself from the burden of his dual role as defensive coordinator. Midway through the season, after a 1-7 start, Quinn split the play-calling duties between Raheem Morris and Jeff Ulbrich. Morris will serve as defensive coordinator next season. "That's been rectified," Blank said of the responsibilities on Quinn.
2. The defense was simplified following the changes during the bye week. The Falcons have gone 5-2 since the atrocious start and are 6-9 headed into Sunday's season finale at the Buccaneers. "Our communication was better," Blank said. "That was a major factor in the turnaround."
3. Blank said that players – the very same who started the season so poorly – continued to play hard under Quinn and achieved the resulting turnaround. "They played just has hard in the first half as the second half," Blank said. "Internal coaching changes made a difference. It's all sustainable going forward."
4. Quinn's leadership and the team mantra of "The Brotherhood" is still relevant, according to Blank. Team president Rich McKay, who will return to football operations and oversee Dimitroff and Quinn, called the coach a leader of men. "The players believe it," Blank said of the team culture.
5. Blank cited the presence of McKay as someone who Dimitroff and Quinn can lean on when making critical decisions. McKay, who most recently was in charge of the construction of Mercedes-Benz Stadium as team president and CEO, will be at team headquarters at least four days a week next season. "Rich has a storied background in football for 25 years," said Blank, who called McKay a source of knowledge and wisdom. For his part, McKay said his new role would be not to make decisions but rather offer support.
In explaining his decision, Blank wanted to maintain continuity, a word often used Friday. He cited the division-rival Saints as an example after the team kept coach Sean Payton following three consecutive 7-9 seasons from 2014-16.
“It’s almost easier to make changes,” Blank said. “The word ‘continuity’ is very important in the NFL and in any situation.”
Blank and McKay both said they believe the Falcons’ strong second half of the season can be duplicated going forward. Blank also said there was not a lot to gain by firing Dimitroff and/or Quinn midseason.
“We’ll see how things play out,” Blank said of his decision. “I have a lot of confidence in this group.”