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Falcons' Dan Quinn, GM Dimitroff to return in 2020

Weeks ago it seemed Dan Quinn's fate was sealed.

Sitting at 1-7 at the bye week, it appeared the Atlanta Falcons would move on after five seasons. They seemingly had to move on from a coach whose defense couldn't stop a nosebleed and team stacked losses like milk crates.

Then Quinn self-reflected during the bye week, made some coaching changes, and BLAM winning took shape. The Falcons have won five of their past seven games, including impressive victories in New Orleans and San Francisco.

Quinn went from walking the proverbial plank to being guaranteed another season.

The Falcons announced Friday both Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff would return in 2020. Both will now report to Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay with owner Arthur Blank retaining oversight of the football operations.

"Over the last two seasons our results on the field have not met our standard or the expectations of our fans," Blank said in a statement. "I understand our fans' disappointment and frustration because I've felt every bit of it as well. That said, our focus must be on giving our franchise the best opportunity to win next year and beyond. I have long believed that continuity in leadership is very important across all our businesses and the football team is no different in that regard. After weighing several factors, including our team's statistical turnaround and our players' focus and effort the second half of the season, I feel the decision to retain Thomas and Dan, with Rich providing close day-to-day oversight of the football operation, will provide the timeliest route for the Atlanta Falcons to return to contention in 2020 and beyond."

McKay made it clear that Quinn's willingness to self-evaluate during the bye week is what gave him a new lease in Atlanta.

"There aren't many guys who could have come into the room as a head football coach this year, in a 1-7 setting, and reset the tone. Literally, reset the tone," McKay told the team's official website. "Took some ownership of why we were at 1-7 on himself, beyond just pointing to the players and saying 'it's you' he turned the mirror to himself."

The self-reflection led to inspired play down the stretch, with the Falcons looking like the team most expected to open this season. The players showed they wouldn't quit on Quinn when it appeared all was lost.

Quinn's bye-week decision to move Raheem Morris from offense to the defensive side of the ball helped turn the season around. That move will be made permanent with Morris getting a promotion.

The team announced Morris would be named defensive coordinator effective at the conclusion of the 2019 season. Morris, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, earned every bit of that promotion. While the defense was a limp noodle with Quinn guiding the ship, the Falcons became much more potent with Morris calling the shots. Players flew to the ball, a pass rush materialized seemingly out of nowhere, and the back-end made plays despite sustaining injuries. Morris proved he's a good coach, and the Falcons should be better for the move in 2020.

It took humbleness for Quinn to admit his defense needed help, move Morris to that side of the ball and give him third-down play-calling duties. Many coaches with their backs pressed to the wall dig their heels in and stand firm in their ways. Those coaches usually get crushed. Quinn came out the other side in 2019 because he showed humility.

Falcons players always had Quinn's back and showed it down the stretch, fighting with fire despite nothing substantial to play for the past two months.

Quinn and Dimitroff survive for another year. But if they return with a repeat of this season, you can bet Blank won't be forgiving next time.

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