Arthur Blank: In my view, players didn’t understand onside kick rules

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After the Falcons failed to recover an onside kick late in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that his players know that NFL rules allow them to recover such a kick before it travels 10 yards.

That didn’t appear to be the case as the Falcons players stood and watched the ball spin until the Cowboys recovered it to set up Greg Zuerlein‘s game-winning field goal. Quinn’s boss Arthur Blank is among those that feels that way.

Blank was on SiriusXM NFL Radio Monday and the end of Sunday’s game came up. The Falcons owner was asked about how to handle those kinds of situations and said he preferred to think about how to correct problems rather than react out of “that disappointment, that sadness, maybe anger, frustration.”

“There’s 14 more games to play in the season,” Blank said. “We have a lot of games left to play and there are certain aspects of our performance in the first two games which have been really good. Some other parts have not been good. Clearly our defense is not playing at the level we want to see it play at. And clearly on the last play of the game yesterday our players, you know, didn’t do what they, you know, either what they were instructed to do and they didn’t understand it, or, it’s clear though they didn’t, in my view, they didn’t clearly understand what the rules were and exactly what they had to do. I think that’s demonstrated when you watch the video of it.”

Nothing about the way the Cowboys comeback unfolded reflects well on Quinn and the rest of his staff, but the onside kick was a particularly bad look given the questions about Quinn’s job security as last season came to an end.

20 responses to “Arthur Blank: In my view, players didn’t understand onside kick rules

  1. I can’t believe they let those coaches onto the plane home. Inexcusable, really. Special teams, defense, and head coach should all be gonzo

  2. Youre telling me all these players went through Pop Warner to high school to the college to the NFL and they didn’t understand the receiving team can touch the ball once it goes beyond 1 yard?
    What a joke

  3. I’m not sure how anyone could come to any conclusion other than the Falcons didn’t understand the rule. To be fair to them, that is also partly on the special teams coach as much as them, as they should be reminded going out there for a sure on-side kick that they should get on the ball ASAP as soon as it comes off the tee.

  4. If that’s true, then the coaches are to blame. It also came at the end of yet another historic collapse by the Falcons and the head coach who fired all of his assistant coaches last year in a last ditch effort to save his job.

    If Blank can’t see it, he is blind.

  5. It was like watching curling. The Falcons should have handled brooms preparing the ball for when it got to 10 yards.

  6. I think thats all the reason you need to fire Quinn. Hey I like Quinn, and he was great in Seattle but c’mon man. Thats inexcusable and you’re the Head Coach so you take the fall for not coaching your guys up.

  7. Ouch. When the owner of an NFL team publicly and emphatically contradicts his head coach, that may yet be a sign of something to come.

  8. Everyone is quick to blame. However, there are two different theories at play here. All of these articles and comments assume that these professional football players just didn’t know the rule. It’s easy to say, “they should get on the ball ASAP” on an onside kick. But the reality is that you don’t want to risk muffing the attempted recovery if the ball wasn’t going to make it 10 yards anyways, and that kick was designed specifically for just that….to cause them to think it wasn’t going to go 10 yards. GREAT design by the Cowboys!

  9. I think it’s pretty clear the falcons didn’t think it would make it ten yards, or were letting it reach ten yards for their teammate to cover it so that they didn’t muff the recovery of a ball that wouldn’t have gone ten yards anyways. If they touched the ball and failed the recovery, the cowboys could have covered it. In essence, they were coached to not be aggressive on onside kicks to the point that everyone just watched it roll past. No one wants to pull a leon lett style play but there has to be a well struck balance. Bad coaching.

  10. No doubt Quinn and his coaches all worked 80+ hour weeks leading into that game yet somehow the hands team–who ONLY plays in onsides kick situations–were unsure of the onsides kick rules. It’s called “working smarter instead of longer/harder” and plenty of coaches could learn a thing or two from that concept.

  11. Blank, fire Quinn tommarrow, promote Ex bucs, assist coach Dirk Kotter who’s already on your staff. Start fresh in 2021.

  12. I dont really know the rules either but I would say the more recoveries the better. If I understand correctly it has statistically gotten even more difficult for the kicking team to recover.

  13. Players get paid millions of dollars a year and they “DON’T KNOW” the on-sides kick rules or a few years ago that a game could end in a tie, GIMME’ A BREAK, I’d be cutting players if they used that lame excuse with me if I were the HC!

    If we’re paying you millions a year you damn well better KNOW THE RULES OF THE GAME YOU PLAY!

  14. September 21, 2020 at 6:40 pm
    Everyone is quick to blame. However, there are two different theories at play here. All of these articles and comments assume that these professional football players just didn’t know the rule. It’s easy to say, “they should get on the ball ASAP” on an onside kick. But the reality is that you don’t want to risk muffing the attempted recovery if the ball wasn’t going to make it 10 yards anyways, and that kick was designed specifically for just that….to cause them to think it wasn’t going to go 10 yards. GREAT design by the Cowboys!

    —————————————————-

    Come on man. Fine, If the ball isn’t absolutely not going to go 10 yards, sure, stay off it, but as that thing continues to travel toward that 10 yard line at roughly a snails pace, all the recovery team need to to is take a knee and then grab the ball – player down, game over. There were multiple Falcons players staring at the ball as it crossed the line. That’s not smart play. If the special teams coaches are coaching them to NOT jump on a ball to avoid a muff in that situation, then the situation in Atlanta is worse than anyone can imagine.

  15. Came to this post late … This play is exactly why many people believe games are fixed, whether coaches, players or refs are involved … it’s ridiculous that any team could come back from 15 down with less than five minutes to play

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