ATLANTA – Falcons owner Arthur Blank met with the media following the Falcons 27-20 loss on Sunday. Blank said he was "extraordinarily disappointed" with the Falcons season thus far and noted that he would take "the next couple of weeks to evaluate things."
Below are quotes from Blank's press conference with the Atlanta media.
Blank on Dan Quinn's performance:
"I think it's a fair question. Much like the coach just said, I'm extraordinarily disappointed in the season. Nobody would have anticipated 1-7 and the lack of consistency. Today was a prime example of that, down 24-0. If we could just play the second half, we would have won the game; but it doesn't work that way. We'll take the next couple of weeks during this bye period of time and evaluate where we are.
"Whatever decision we have to make will be made for the right reasons for the long term. We certainly have a lot of intelligence on this coaching staff here. We have three other head coaches, we've got three general managers in this building beyond Thomas [Dimitroff], actually four, including Rich McKay. The knowledge base is there, but the performance is not. And this is a performance-driven business, I understand that and they understand that as well. So, we'll continue to look at everything we can and make the right decisions that we're going to have to make. I'm not bashful about making those decisions."
Blank on if he's not going to do anything over next couple weeks:
"Well, we are going to do something. We're going to continue to think really hard and evaluate everything that we can do as an owner and as a senior management team, and figure out if there's anything that we can do to make some decisions, any earlier, any later, that would help the process, but we have no plans on making any changes right now."
Blank on how tough it is to watch the team lose:
"Well, it's very painful. It's very painful because, not only, you know, I'm an owner, but I'm the steward for the fans, I'm the custodian of the team on their behalf. I feel their pain, I truly do, and I see their pain. I understand what they're going through. It's bewilderment how we can play that way in the first half and a completely different way in the second half, but that's kind of been typical of the year. We just haven't had the kind of consistency to win games. Whatever the reasons are they are, but it's just not acceptable at any level and we have to continue to think about what's the best thing for the franchise and the team on a long-term basis, and we'll do that."
Blank on seeing a lot of empty seats:
"It's very painful, I understand that. I'm always going to be here, I'm going to be in my seat and hopefully the great majority of our fans will as well. I think they understand our ownership has been committed for almost 20 years now in doing the right things for the franchise. I look at our record over that period of time compared to the prior 36 years, and it's extraordinarily good. And even for this staff; It's hard to imagine but we played in the Super Bowl two-and-a-half years ago. And the year following, when we weren't supposed to be competitive, we were 5 yards away from playing for the NFC Championship Game. Last year we had a number of injuries, as we all know. But that's all history. It's nice to understand that and appreciate that, but this is a now business and it's a now game, and so we've got to perform differently."
Blank on his experience informing his decision:
"It does. You begin to understand a little more clearly. The one key thing I think here to keep in mind - it's not a reason one way or another, but it is a factor - the players, they love Dan Quinn and they're playing hard for him. The results aren't there, and I understand that and they understand that as well. You all heard about Julio's comments this last week, I happened to be in the locker room. In 20 years I've never heard a player talk that way with that emotional content and that fervor and that feeling about their responsibility and their own accountability. I think he touched a lot of players and the whole staff by doing that, but that has to convert to a different record."
Blank on if Julio's comments changed his mind:
"No. [What] I've said earlier I think is important. I think the players have not lost confidence in the coach and the coaching staff, and they're playing with high energy, they're committed, they're practicing hard, they're working hard. They're as befuddled, I think, as we are, as the coaches are. But I don't think they view it as a lack of confidence in the coach and the coaching staff. I think they're very committed to working for him and doing whatever they have to do. Hopefully, it will be enough, but we'll see."