Falcons owner: Coach Dan Quinn 'is not the problem'


The Atlanta Falcons entered the season with legitimate aspirations of returning to the Super Bowl. After Thursday's humbling loss to the New Orleans Saints, those hopes are out the window.

Despite a defense that struggles to plug the dam and an offense that has its bouts with turnovers and red zone issues, the Falcons won't overhaul the program. Owner Arthur Blank gave coach Dan Quinn a vote of confidence after the team's third straight loss.

"Absolutely. We love our coach," Blank told ESPN's Vaughn McClure on Thursday night. "Our coach is not the problem."

Blank handed Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff three-year contract extensions in the offseason, so he's certainly not ready to blow up the operation.

The owner pointed to a bevy of injuries to explain the team's 4-7 record, including losing Pro Bowlers Devonta Freeman, Keanu Neal and Deion Jones early in the season.

"It's a reason, but it's not an excuse," Blank said of the injuries. "That's what the coach would tell you. That's what the players would tell you. There have been some crippling injuries, but other guys have stepped up and played the best they can. Some cases, that's good enough. In some cases, not quite."

Quinn's defense was decimated by injuries to impact starters. The replacements, however, haven't been disastrous, which puts the onus on the coaching staff. Entering Thursday's tilt, the Falcons D ranked 32nd in DVOA by Football Outsiders.

While Quinn is safe, the same can't be assumed for offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. While the coach has vocally supported his assistants all season, the offense has averaged 17.3 points per game over the past three tilts. With the type of offensive talent, the lulls are inexcusable. After exorcizing the red-zone issues in the middle of the season, they've crept back up for the embattled coordinator.

With the playoff dreams effectively dead after Thursday's turnover-filled loss, the Falcons will try to right the ship down the stretch with Quinn and hope any momentum gained can help fuel offseason optimism. If not, perhaps some other changes might be in order in Atlanta.