The Falcons have had an uninspiring start to 2020 to say the absolute very least. First they were barbecued by the Seahawks, then they couldn’t recover an onside kick against the Cowboys, then they succumbed to an incredible comeback at the hands of Nick Foles and the Bears.
Now they’re headed to Green Bay to face one of the league’s very best offenses. How are Falcons fans feeling? We turned to Mike Chambers, managing editor of The Falcoholic, to find out.
Acme Packing Company: The Falcons are 0-3 and you wrote a piece this week that included this sentence: “Fans expect the Falcons to lose so spectacularly that the TV pundits can’t even describe it, that the analysts have to do a deep dive to find out how historic the disaster is, and the other NFL fans to turn it into a meme.” I don’t want to be overly dramatic here, but — are you guys okay?
Mike Chambers: No.
Falcons fans went through 28-3 then really believed the team would be back to avenge such failure and make things right. If you haven’t been paying attention, that never happened. We hit rock bottom and this seaso
n we were thrown a shovel.
The Falcons are bad but we have seen so many blown leads that it is hard for any of these losses to even register anymore.
APC: Are you surprised Dan Quinn hasn’t been fired?
MC: The man is highly qualified.
Not in running a team, but convincing the owner he shouldn’t be fired. After back-to-back 7-9 seasons, including a 1-7 start last year, owner Arthur Blank said the staff would be retained for continuity. That definitely didn’t work, but he can’t bail on that claim after only three games.
The Packers are an interesting matchup because they are coached by Atlanta’s former quarterback coach Matt LaFleur. He was one of the expected favorites to replace Kyle Shanahan, but the coaches reportedly weren’t impressed with LaFleur. He was allowed to leave under contract while the Falcons hired college coach Steve Sarkisian, replacing him with retread Dirk Koetter, who runs an abomination he claims is Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Sarkisian is back in college and LaFleur is on pace for back-to-back playoff berths. Quinn should be fired just for that move.
Maybe he gets fired after MNF but the short week probably buys him even more time.
APC: Turning to positives, what’s going well for the Falcons?
MC: People seem to like the new uniforms?
APC: Who’s a player on both offense and defense that Packers fans may not be aware of that could play an important role?
MC: Linebacker Foye Oluokun looked like he took a big step forward, notably punching out three (!) fumbles in the first half of the Dallas game ... before getting injured. He has some attitude and an edge.
Wide receiver Russell Gage is behind both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley and has 17 receptions in three games before leaving with a concussion. There is a chance he doesn’t play, but tight end Hayden Hurt and running back Brian Hill are both itching for big games and have earned more looks.
APC: What’s your prediction for Monday’s game?
MC: The most Falcons thing to do is to miraculously play well against the Packers, and go on a short winning streak to keep Dan Quinn’s job just a bit longer. The Falcons beat both the Saints and 49ers last year. The Falcons are all about a special piece of mediocrity that will both keep us away from a top draft pick and give Dan Quinn more undeserved job security. Beating the Packers is the worst thing for this team so it will almost certainly happen.