ATLANTA — Another week, and another loss from the Atlanta Falcons is heightening speculation about head coach Dan Quinn keeping his post leading a football team in freefall.
They suffered another disappointing loss in week eight of the season, falling 27-20 to the Seattle Seahawks at home in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The team nearly rallied, but a fumble from Devonta Freeman near the goal line and a failed onside kick ultimately allowed the Seahawks to close out the game.
The team has the worst standing in the NFC South, something that's left Falcons owner, Arthur Blank, "extraordinarily disappointed,"referencing the Atlanta Falcons' dismal 1-7 season.
"Nobody would have anticipated (that record), and the lack of consistency," he told reporters during a post-game news conference.
"Today was a prime example of that: 24-nothing. If we could have just played the second half, we would have won the game," he continued, pointing out the team's scoreless first half, before they managed to put 11 points on the board during the third and nine more in the fourth.
"It's bewilderment how we can play that way in the first half and completely differently in the second half, but that's been kind of typical for the year."
Blank expressed his frustrations with the season are reflective of the fans' in the lack of consistency from the Atlanta team, saying how "painful" it is for him to see swaths of empty seats at the Benz.
"It's very painful, because not only -- you know, I'm an owner, but I'm a steward for the fans ... I feel their pain, I truly do," he said. "I'm always going to be here in my seat, and hopefully they great majority of the fans will be as well."
Questions quickly turned to Quinn's future with the franchise, to which Blank replied with continued vague answers.
"We'll take the next couple of weeks during this bye period of time, evaluate where we are, and whatever decision we have to make, it will be made for the right reasons for long term," he said. "We don't have any plans to make any changes right now."
Blank said the focus will continue to remain on what is the best thing for the franchise on a long-term basis. He said he will be weighing his decision carefully, explaining there are a lot of factors to consider, including the team's record over the last 20 years compared to decades before - among them, a Super Bowl run in the last two years and a just-missed NFC Championship the year after.
"That's all history and it's nice to understand that and appreciate that, but this a 'now' business and it's a 'now' game, and so we gotta perform differently," he said.
Blank added the talent is there, but it's just as important to make it click - a big piece that he said is missing right now.
"We certainly have a lot of intelligence on this coaching staff right now. The knowledge base is there. The performance is not. And this is a performance-driven business. And Dan is saying that, as well," Blank said. "Whatever the reasons they are, they are it's just not acceptable."
One of the biggest factors weighing in the decision, Blank told reporters, is the players' feelings about their leadership.
"One key thing here to keep in mind ... the players, they love Dan Quinn. And they're playing hard for him," he said, before referencing reports of Julio Jones' speech in support of Dan Quinn made after the team's loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
"We all heard about Julio's comments this last week - I happened to be in the locker room - and in my 20 years, I've never heard a player talk that way with that emotional content ... that feeling about their responsibility and their own accountability. I think he touched a lot of players and the whole staff in doing that," Blank continued. "But that has to convert to a different record."
Blank said the players have not lost confidence in Quinn and the coaching staff and continue to practice hard and playing the game. But at the end of the day, Blank said when he must make a decision, he wants it to be the right one for the right reasons.
"I understand the responsibility I have to the fans, and the sponsors and the players ... to put a winning team on the field," he said. "So, we're committed to that."
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