With Gruden Out in Washington, Quinn Is Likely to Be Next

One of the biggest stories of the NFL season each year is who will be the first head coach to be fired. Sportsbooks place odds, analysts pitch their conjecture, and reporters ask these coaches each week if they expect to be canned.

This year, the conjecture was that Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden would be the first out the door, and that came to fruition on Sunday after the team’s 33-7 loss to the New England Patriots. That moved Washington to 0-5 assuring his termination.

That Gruden was the first to go was no surprise to anyone. The owner of the Redskins, Dan Snyder, has gone through eight head coaches since 1999 and two of those coaches (Mike Shanahan and Joe Gibbs) have won multiple Super Bowls.

In addition, his winless start made him 35-49-1, making him the longest tenured coach who had a losing record. That seemed like the perfect formula for the unemployment line.

Dan Quinn on the Hot Seat

Now that Gruden is gone, the attention shifts to the next coach who is likely to be fired. That could very well be the Atlanta Falcons Dan Quinn.

Quinn had an impressive set of credentials when he took over the Falcons in February 2015. He had been an NFL assistant since 2001 and helped build a Seattle Seahawks defense that dominated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. He was the next “big thing” in coaching.

The Falcons were 10-22 in the two previous seasons to Quinn’s arrival, and he got them moving in the right direction with an 8-8 record in his first year. It was largely ignored that the team started out 5-0, before dropping eight of their final 11.

This was completely ignored the following season when the team went 11-5, won the South Division, and advanced to the Super Bowl. The Falcons looked like a lock to beat the Patriots, leading 21-3 at halftime. Somehow, they got away from the combination that had helped them reach football’s biggest game, giving up 19 points in the fourth quarter before losing in overtime, 34-28.

It has not been the same in Atlanta since. The team went 10-6 in 2017, making the playoffs and winning in the wild card round before falling to the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional game, 15-10. Last season, they went 7-9, and this year they are 1-4 through Week 5. That gives Quinn an overall record of 37-32, which is quite good when you get down to it.

However, the complete regression of star quarterback Matt Ryan and the fact that they yielded 53 points to the Houston Texans on Sunday does not bode well for the Falcons Head Coach.  The team’s bye week is not for three weeks, but you can be sure that owner Arthur Blank will be showing Quinn the door if the team has not greatly improved by then.

That gives Dan Quinn three weeks to show he is the guy to turn this thing around. If the Falcons don’t have at least three wins after their October 27th game against Seattle, he will most assuredly be the second head coach fired this season.

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