With a 1-4 record, the Falcons are in the cellar of the NFC South and chasing the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, two teams holding 3-1 records atop the division with the Saints still to play Monday night.
"I think we're closer than what our record shows," right tackle Ryan Schraeder said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN. "You've got to go watch the film. You've got to make corrections. You've got to keep getting better. Otherwise, we're working against ourselves. I think we have a good group of guys. We'll come back strong. We're not quitters."
Schrader raises a good argument on the Falcons being close to developing into the team they want to be.
Yes, Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was a 41-17 blowout, but Atlanta's three other defeats come at a combined 13 points, or 4.3 points per game. There are no such things as moral victories, but the Falcons have positive takeaways from losses.
The Falcons entered the 2018 regular season with high hopes of being a contender for the Super Bowl. While injuries on defense to linebacker Deion Jones (foot), safety Keanu Neal (knee) and safety Ricardo Allen (Achilles) have decimated the team, the current three-game slide won't place the Falcons in a mental funk, and a turnaround must start from within.
"For us to become the team we need to be, it has to be from us," Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters on his message to the locker room, per the team's official website.
Quarterback Matt Ryan echoed Quinn's message, and emphasized the importance of applying lessons learned from Sunday's loss to Week 6's matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a view to secure a victory.
"We have to find a way to win next week and keep that mindset that small," Ryan said. "That's probably the best way to handle how to do it, and so when we get done tomorrow, watch this film and finish up with it, we have to put all our energy in our focus on playing well and getting a win next week. And then beyond that, we have to kind of keep that approach moving forward."