FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Nobody is more aware of the downward spiral the Falcons currently find themselves in than their head coach, Dan Quinn.
Quinn, who led Atlanta to the Super Bowl in 2016, has searched for answers throughout much of the season as injuries and inconsistent play have plagues the Falcons in 2018. The Falcons (4-8) are coming off their worst performance of the season, a 26-16 loss to the Ravens at home, in which the offense was fully one-dimensional, and the defense couldn't seem to get off the field.
That contrast was most apparent in the third quarter, a time of the game that is often an emphasis for Quinn. The Ravens (7-5) dominated time of possession with a 10-play drive and a 14-play drive that chewed up more than 13 minutes. The Falcons had a three-and-out between the Ravens' two time-melting drives and ran just one more play before the end of the quarter.
This specific instance provided Quinn with the opportunity to explain how as the head coach he goes about improving the team in areas of concern.
"We've tried a number of things," Quinn said of improving third-quarter play. "We've created a halftime at practice and instituted a little bit of that again make sure there's a way to reset, 'Hey, man, it's zero to zero, we're starting it again.'
"That's my job and my role as the head coach to make sure players, coaches and everyone can be at their best. That would be one small example of how I create that moment at practice to say, alright, here are the plays that we're going to go feature offensively and defensively in the next half. I'm constantly searching to try and promote that. We've missed the mark, and we're going to continue to work on it."
There are plenty of areas where the Falcons have been short of their best this season, particularly during their recent four-game losing streak. Right up there near the top is the run game.
"Execution" is a word that has been said a lot when talking about the offensive struggles. Quinn explained that breakdown in execution isn't always in one particular spot, but it's something that has been happening.
"If [poor execution] is some of the time and, another one here, and another one here, that's when it can get most challenging," Quinn said. "That's why, as a team, we've made such a big emphasis on the execution as a group.
"We're trying like hell to make sure our consistency is not 8-out-of-10 or 7-out-of-10, but it's just over and over done well and done right. And that has been a challenge for us."
Injuries aside, this is a team that still has talent on the roster. That talent hasn't been playing up to the level it showed five weeks ago. So, what's changed? That's the answer Quinn and his staff are working to discover.