Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who is a team co-builder with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, has promised a sweeping evaluation of the entire football operation.
“From players to staff to everything, we want to make sure that we look at the body of work and get clear, concise evaluations on everybody,” Quinn said on Monday, a day after the team dropped to 4-9 on the season with a loss at the Packers. “So, understanding where we are at, it’s not what we want to do, but that’s part of it and we’ll look at that.”
The Falcons were a fashionable preseason pick to reach the Super Bowl. But injuries and sloppy play have marked the season. They had 13 penalties and had poor ball-handling in the 34-20 loss to the Packers on Sunday.
“If you’re clearly at four wins at this time, you have not met expectations,” Quinn said. “I’m not going to get into that (who’s safe and who’s not). I’m going to look at everything. I’m going to evaluate everything. That’s the most important thing, to make sure that we do what is best for the team moving forward.”
Some of the player evaluations have started.
Right tackle Ty Sambrailo fared well in his start against the Packers over Ryan Schraeder.
"I haven't played a full game in a while so that was a lot of fun getting back and flying around," said Sambrailo, a former second-round pick by the Broncos in 2015. "Obviously, there is always stuff to improve on, but it was fun getting back."
Sambrailo played all 71 of the offensive snaps against the Packers. He had an offsides penalty on the third play of the game, but settled down after and played well.
“I thought overall, not just with Ty, there was more space in the run game,” Quinn said. “Protection was better. As it went for Ty, I felt his quickness off the ball. … He had a good performance. There was a sack allowed. You probably saw that on the TV stuff. Past that, I thought Ty had a number of finish points. He had a good performance.”
The Falcons sent a fifth-round pick to Denver to acquire Sambrailo in 2017. He’d been the backup swing tackle, but Schraeder had trouble with speed rushers this season.
“I’ve just kind of been waiting for my chance to kind of go out there and show what I can do,” Sambrailo said. “I was given an opportunity and I thought I went out and played all right. It’s a good baseline for me to keep improving.”
Sambrailo started some as a rookie with Denver, but things didn’t go well.
“A lot of times in life that happens,” Sambrailo said. “I came here and they were excited to have me. I’ve been excited to be here and it’s been fun.”
The Falcons have made no promises to Sambrailo about the future.
“Just to go out and play with a lot energy and intensity,” Sambrailo said. “They were excited to see what I could do and get it on film.
“I’ve played football a long time. This is the same. I’m just going out and playing football. That’s really all that I can control. I haven’t heard anything.”
Defensive end Steven Means played 27 of 65 defensive snaps (42 percent). He had a tackle for a loss and was called for neutral zone infraction in the fourth quarter.
“We were planning to get him up earlier after Derrick (Shelby) went to (injured reserve),” Quinn said. “It just so happened that who we were playing last week (Ravens and running quarterback Lamar Jackson), we wanted as much speed to play the option rules.
“I thought he got off to a good start. We’ve seen it in practice and he showed good for himself yesterday.”
Means had been inactive for the past five games. He last played against the Buccaneers on Oct. 14.
Rookie cornerback Isaiah Oliver played 19 of 65 defensive snaps (29 percent). He had three tackles and one pass breakup. Oliver drew a defensive holding penalty in the second quarter.
The Falcons have been asking Oliver to play tougher at the line of scrimmage and be more physical.
“He’s definitely somebody that we are excited about,” Quinn said.
Running back Brian Hill played nine of 71 offensive snaps (13 percent) at running back and fullback. He had one carry for five yards.
“We thought due to his size, that’s a role that he could have,” Quinn said. “He’s been a good special teams player when we’ve had him up. This was a chance for him to play special teams, third halfback and fullback. That’s how we utilized him in the game.”
Backup tight end Eric Saubert played 32 offensive snaps (45 percent) with Logan Paulsen out with a knee/ankle injury. He was targeted three times and caught two passes for 15 yards.
Backup safety Ryan Neal played 13 plays on special teams.
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