Kanell played for a handful of teams in the NFL but had a short stint in Atlanta as a backup for Chris Chandler.
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Pressure on Dan Quinn
When asked about how much pressure is on Koetter and Todd Gurley to produce, Kanell believes most of it lies on Falcons head coach, Dan Quinn. DQ and the team blew their Super Bowl chances in 2017 and then you look back on 2018 and 2019 and it been a consecutive 7-9 finish.
“There’s a lot. I mean I don’t think it’s anywhere as near as much as there is on Dan Quinn, the head coach who is probably on the hot seat, Kanell said. If they don’t turn this thing around, he’s probably going to find himself looking for a job.
But this offense, I think people are sleeping on the Falcons. I think everyone is talking in this division about the Saints and the Bucs and deservingly so. Those are the top two teams, but I think Matt Ryan is a future Hall of Famer.”
Gurley and Matt Ryan could play a big role in turning Atlanta around and saving Quinn’s job this season if all goes well.
Matt Ryan a Future Fall of Famer
Kanell is right, the Falcons offense is loaded and a lot of people seem to be looking past that. They now have 10 former first-rounders on the starting lineup.
“I think you’ve got some really impressive pieces there. And a lot of it will hinge on Todd Gurley. I don’t think he’s a make or break player though if he doesn’t pan out. If you look at Matt Ryan, the type of statistics, the type of numbers that he’s delivered consistently out of the majority of his career, they’ll be okay.”
Matt Ryan is the rock to this offense but he has some gems to pass to in Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Gurley. Ryan has been the most reliable QB and on MVP in Falcons’ franchise history, now all he needs is someone reliable to pass to that can make a play and it doesn’t have to be Gurley.
A Difference Maker
However, if Gurley’s knee problems aren’t as bad as the media is making it out to be and he does come back at even just 80 percent, then that’s going to be a game-changer for the Falcons offense and the opposing defense.
“But where I do think it [Todd Gurley] can make a difference is, is this Falcons team a playoff team. If Todd Gurley over-performs and he’s quote ‘back,’ to any resemblance to his MVP type season that he had a couple of years ago with the Rams, that sets the Falcons up, clearly, in a much better position.”
Even with health problems, Gurley was able to put up double-digit touchdowns last season. He’s had a lot of time to rest and rehab in quarantine. I think the NFC South is in for a real surprise come gameday in September.