Atlanta Falcons fire head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after 0-5 start
Home defeat by Carolina Panthers ends Quinn's reign; defensive coordinator Raheem Morris named interim head coach
Last Updated: 12/10/20 3:31pm
The Atlanta Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff on Sunday night, hours after the team lost at home 23-16 to the Carolina Panthers to fall to the franchise's first 0-5 start since 1997.
Team president and CEO Rich McKay will take over day-to-day football operations and will assist owner Arthur Blank in a search for a new GM and coach.
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According to a release by the team, Dimitroff's duties will be handled by various members of the Falcons staff for the rest of 2020.
"Decisions like these are very difficult, but the previous two seasons and start to this one have been especially hard for me because of the deep love, admiration and respect I and my family have for Dan, Thomas and their families," Blank said in the statement.
"For many years, they have represented me, our team, organization and Atlanta with class, commitment and all the passion you would want in the leaders of the team.
"Our finish in 2019 earned an opportunity to show that momentum could be continued and built upon, but that has clearly not happened. And overall, the last three-plus seasons have fallen short of my commitment to Atlanta and to our fans everywhere.
"I want them all to know that my commitment to winning has not wavered and I will continue to provide every resource possible to that end."
Quinn will be replaced as head coach on an interim basis by the Falcons' defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, with McKay saying: "Raheem is a strong leader and a talented coach that has adapted to a variety of roles since joining the Falcons in 2015.
"He has experience as a head coach and has worked on both sides of the ball. We felt that, combined with his connection to the players and coaching staff - which will be an important factor as we move forward in 2020 - he was the right person to give this responsibility to."
Morris - who is in his sixth season with the Falcons - was previously head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers between 2009 and 2011.
Last month, the Falcons blew fourth-quarter leads of 15 and 16 points in consecutive losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears, respectively.
Those collapses rekindled Falcons fans' painful memories of Atlanta's infamous breakdown in Super Bowl LI, where Atlanta squandered a 28-3 lead in a 34-28 overtime loss to the New England Patriots.
'Falcons had to turn the page on Quinn'
Reacting to the Falcons firings on Good Morning Football, Kyle Brandt said that Super Bowl capitulation to the Patriots will forever hang over Quinn's head.
"The legacy of this administration are two numbers, 28 and 3," Brandt said. "That is always going to hang on this, the lead they blew in one of the most unthinkable losses in any sport, in any year.
"I hate that Quinn is leaving, because I wanted to see him avenge that - I wanted to see him get back.
"This is what people will talk about 50 years from now when you flip open the history book and remember the Dan Quinn-led Falcons."
Quinn's record was 43-42 overall since taking over the Falcons for the 2015 season, but just 14-23 since the start of the 2018 campaign. He survived a rocky 1-7 start last season by leading Atlanta to a 6-2 finish.
Quinn is the second NFL head coach to lose his job this season. The Houston Texans parted ways with Bill O'Brien earlier this month.
Dimitroff was named GM of the Falcons in January 2013 after five seasons as New England's director of college scouting. Since his arrival, Atlanta is 109-88 in the regular season, has made the playoffs six times, has three NFC South titles and made the Super Bowl once.
Among the players drafted on Dimitroff's watch are cornerstone players in quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Julio Jones, offensive lineman Jake Matthews and linebacker Deion Jones.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has had surgery on his right ankle after suffering a compound fracture and dislocation during their 37-34 win over the New York Giants on Sunday.
The gruesome injury will end Prescott's season. "I feel terrible for him," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said after the game. "He was having a tremendous year. He's made such an impression on me.
"He's the leader of this team. This will just be another chapter in a great story. He's a fine young man."
Prescott sustained the injury in the third quarter after gaining nine yards on a quarterback run, getting tackled by Giants safety Logan Ryan.
He immediately clutched his right lower leg. After a cast was placed on the leg, Prescott, crying, was carted off the field at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will be without Michael Thomas when they host the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football after being benched for 'disciplinary reasons'.
NFL Network reported Thomas had punched team-mate Chauncey Gardner-Johnson during a fight in practice.
The Saints officially ruled out Thomas on Sunday afternoon, citing his status as "out/not injury related."
Thomas had been listed as questionable with a left ankle injury and was limited during practice in the week. He sustained a left ankle injury in the Saints' season-opening victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.