FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — A five-game losing streak has assured the Atlanta Falcons of their first losing season since 2014, and the usually upbeat coach Dan Quinn said he’s alarmed by the ugly results and looking for fixes.
Quinn said all players and coaches are in the spotlight after Sunday’s 34-20 loss at Green Bay locked in the losing season for the Falcons (4-9).
It is a bitter reality for an Atlanta team only two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance. The Falcons would have to win two of their last three just to match their last losing record, a 6-10 finish in 2014.
Quinn has turned up the heat on his team as Atlanta prepares for a visit from Arizona on Sunday.
“Some of you may have questions regarding the program and staff and players,” Quinn said. “As we’re sitting here in week 15, we have four wins. So you better believe we’re evaluating everything and doing anything to get it right.”
Quinn complained about “self-inflicted wounds,” including 13 penalties and two turnovers in the loss to the Packers.
“I thought our toughness was right but our focus is not,” he said.
He said the errors and lack of focus are not new concerns.
“It hasn’t been to the level that we needed to for a while,” he said. “… To have some of these inconsistencies show up over a period of time has definitely been something that has been at the forefront of my mind.”
Quinn doesn’t have an answer to why the focus has become an issue, saying, he “can’t tell you the amount of sleep” he has lost “on that question alone.”
Matt Ryan’s second-quarter pass for Austin Hooper was intercepted by Bashaud Breeland and returned 22 yards for a touchdown. The Falcons also botched a shotgun snap in the red zone that was recovered by Green Bay.
Quinn said those were among the mistakes “that made me think lack of focus.”
It was a mixed weekend for team owner Arthur Blank, who also owns the MLS Atlanta United. One day after watching Atlanta United win the MLS Cup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Blank was in Green Bay for another Falcons loss.
Blank gave Quinn a postgame hug one week after saying he still has confidence in the coach and general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
Quinn is 36-30 in his fourth season in Atlanta, including a 3-2 postseason mark.
For the second straight week, Quinn tweaked his starting offensive line, inserting Ty Sambrailo at right tackle ahead of Ryan Schraeder. Zane Beadles made his second straight start at right guard.
“I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to go out and show what I can do,” Sambrailo said Monday. “The opportunity came and I felt I did all right.”
The line helped produce a much-needed boost in the running game . Atlanta ran for 107 yards, only its third 100-yard game of the season. Rookie Ito Smith had 11 carries for 60 yards as he continued to have a more prominent role. Tevin Coleman ran for 45 yards on 10 carries.
There were other personnel moves. Rookie Isaiah Oliver shared time with cornerback Robert Alford. Brian Hill played at running back and fullback while fullback Ricky Ortiz was inactive. Defensive end Steven Means also returned to the playing rotation.
More changes could come.
“Nobody is OK with this record,” Quinn said.
NOTES: Quinn second-guessed himself for allowing Matt Bryant to attempt a 53-yard field goal into the wind in the first quarter. Bryant’s kick was short. “That would be one I’d like to have over,” Quinn said. … Quinn said TE Austin Hooper avoided serious injury when he left the game with an apparent knee injury.
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