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Matt Ryan Says Falcons Are 'Doing Everything We Can' to Save Dan Quinn's Job

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2019

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 18: Head coach Dan Quinn and quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons talk as they leave the field after the Falcons defeated the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Falcons defeated the Browns 24-13. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said Tuesday the team is trying to finish the 2019 season strong to help head coach Dan Quinn keep his job.

On Sunday, Ryan led the 5-9 Falcons to an upset of the 11-3 San Francisco 49ers with a game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Julio Jones with two seconds left. He told NFL Now (via Nick Shook of NFL.com) the team's surge in the second half of the campaign is for Quinn.

"He has the respect of the locker room, and the guys play hard for Dan," he said. "There's no question about it. We all appreciate everything that he does for us, the style of coaching, and he's got great relationships with all of the guys in our locker room. So we love him. We are playing hard and doing everything we can for him."

The Falcons hired Quinn in 2015 and posted a 29-19 regular-season record across his first three years. The team earned two playoff berths, highlighted by an appearance in Super Bowl LI, where it lost to the New England Patriots in overtime.

Atlanta dropped off to 7-9 last year, however, and has been eliminated from playoff contention again following a 1-7 start to the campaign in 2019.

"I've been in this profession long enough to know that it's a production-based business," Ryan told NFL Now. "I hope it is because we love him and he's a great football coach."

After Atlanta's Week 14 win over the Carolina Panthers, Falcons owner Arthur Blank told Jeff Schultz of The Athletic he hadn't decided on the coach's future: "We've got games left. Let's see how this plays out."

Following the upset of the Niners, Quinn told Schultz he's happy about the team's turnaround.

"You'd have to ask those guys," the 49-year-old said regarding whether he believed the Falcons were playing hard to save him. "But it's really cool. I'm proud to be a part of it. ... It means a lot. It means a lot to all of us. We're all fighting for our football lives. I damn sure appreciate it."

The Falcons finish the season with winnable games against the 5-9 Jacksonville Jaguars and 7-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A win or two combined with the players' love for Quinn, as displayed in Ryan's comments, could buy him another year to get things back on track.