With six straight losses to their name, the wheels have officially come off the Atlanta Falcons' season. The 38-0 shutout against the Carolina Panthers was one of the ugliest performances in team history and now there are plenty of questions regarding the team's future. At this point, everyone is being placed on notice with three games left in the regular season, but owner Arthur Blank is making it clear that head coach Dan Quinn is not at risk of being out at the end of the year.
Blank told ESPN.com that he has full confidence in Quinn has a head coach and said, "He's going to be a great head coach for us for many years." So if Quinn is not out, who is? The first head to roll could be general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Early in the season, Blank told the media he liked the one-two punch of Dimitroff and Quinn. However, if someone has to go the general manager will be forced to take the hit. The same could be said for first-year offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan who is also not winning over any fans with the way the team has looked plus the complaints from Roddy White and Julio Jones along with Matt Ryan.
Another move that continues to circle around the Falcons is the departure of Matt Ryan. According to ESPN's Vaughn McClure, the quarterback is overwhelmed by Shanahan's offense as fumbles, interceptions and off-target throws become the new norm. To Ryan's credit, he is not getting much help from the offensive line which has been a storyline for several seasons now. Ryan has just enough time to look for his first intended target. However, if they are not open, a second later the quarterback is sacked.
Everyone from Blank to Quinn have expressed full confidence in Ryan, so any trade report out there is merely speculation at best. Contractually speaking, a trade is not likely simply because the Falcons owe the quarterback over $50 million during the next three seasons. Given Ryan's track record, the Falcons might not be able to do better than him for next season and instead must focus on getting him more help along the offensive line and receiving corps.
White made it clear that the team's issues are not all on Ryan. The fact is the only receiver producing is Jones. Devonta Freeman continues to cap off good runs with fumbles and the defense itself is imploding more and more each week and opponents laugh at the lack of effort. White is right to say the team is in a funk.
"[Ryan] competes and works as hard as anybody in this league," White said, via ESPN.com. We're all in a funk. It's not just Matt. We've got to help Matt out. We've got to catch some balls that we're able to catch. We've got to help him out, especially when he's not playing Matt Ryan football. We've got to go out there and make up for the things that he's not doing well right now. We all have to play better as a collective group and give a better collective effort. Matt Ryan doesn't jump offsides or have holding penalties. We've got to go out there and fix all the stuff we're doing on offense and don't just depend on him to win the game for us."
There will be plenty of changes coming to the Falcons in the offseason. Veteran players like William Moore might not be returning while the team must get better at the line. The drafting of a young, top receiver will be a priority while improving the pass rush has to be a target. The Falcons could also draft a quarterback early as insurance for Ryan.