What started with such promise (Dan Quinn was the first rookie HC to ever win his first five games) ended with a thud back to 8-8. Here are my grades for the 2015 Falcons. Please feel free to add your own or tweet them to me @JohnFricke.
Offense – The scheme was an issue but that does not mitigate the fact that this club missed the playoffs because of the failures on this side of the ball. Unsightly and untimely turnovers and penalties. An inability to produce touchdowns in the red zone. Despite stellar Pro Bowl seasons from Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones the offense owns the 3-8 limp to the finish. Grade C-
Defense – Nowhere to go but up. Last in the league the year before. Largely this group was placed under great stress by all the turnovers but still almost single-handedly won games by creating turnovers of its own. The only thing between this group and a top grade was the inconsistent to non-existent pass rush. Otherwise, this was the best part of this team this season. Grade B+
Special teams – This was a presumed area of strength with two top-notch kickers and the best return man in the game. Injuries took their toll on Devin Hester and Matt Bryant. Still no excuses. This area became a net… nothing. Grade C
Coaching – Quinn infused new energy into the franchise from the jump. From the music driven training camp to the new looks on both sides of the ball. There were bumps and a learning curve along the way and the ever-present question whether the new run blocking scheme fit the personnel to execute it. Considering Quinn improved the win total from the previous season and has given the franchise reason to believe that more progress is ahead then the grade is B.
Overall – (see all above) grade C.