Atlanta Falcons: Dan Quinn has completely gutted the defense


Atlanta Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn has wasted very little time in reconstructing the defense. We all know him to be a defensive-minded coach and knows exactly what to do and how to run a successful unit. We are witnessing a complete overhaul on the defensive side the ball and that’s an understatement.

Of the 25 players to take snaps on defense in 2014, the last year of Mike Smith’s tenure with the Falcons, only seven remain under contract for 2016. That’s less than a third from what the Falcons’ roster was composed of less than two years ago and that list is going to get even smaller in the next couple of weeks.

Included on that list of seven remaining players are nose tackle Paul Soliai, defensive end Tyson Jackson and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. Reports have already broken that the Falcons will cut Soliai and Jackson is likely to follow him out the door as well.

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Babineaux is the longest tenured member with the Falcons, tied with Roddy White and will probably remain with the team for another season, but he’s by no means a lock to be on the 53-man roster at the start of next season.

Best case scenario is six of the original 25 from 2014 remain on the roster heading into next season with the more realistic possibility of their being just four or five.

In just over a year as the Falcons’ head coach, Quinn has gutted a crummy defense and is slowly but surely shaping it into something he can call his own. While Smith’s fingerprints still remain on the offensive side of the ball, his fingerprints on the defense have been wiped clean.

Of the seven players that remain under contract for 2016, only four were “starters” in 2015. Atlanta is already in the market for a new staring strong safety, outside linebacker, defensive end and nose tackle. They could also be in the market for a new middle linebacker as well depending on what they do with soon-to-be free agent Paul Worrilow.

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It’s rather eye-opening to see such a completely reshaped defense in such little time, but one thing is for certain. No position is safe until Quinn has the defense he wants. He will continue to shuffle things around, cut players and add players until the Falcons have one of the best defenses in the league. You can count on that.