Time for Steve Sarkisian to prove his worth for the Falcons

Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
Atlanta Falcons
Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Jalen Ramsey gave some unfiltered commentary on some of the leagues quarterbacks and Matt Ryan landed in the cross-hairs of some of those barbs as “overrated”.

Part of that blame lies at the feet of Matt Ryan himself.  After all, it’s fair to ask why a quarterback surrounded with as much talent as Matty Ice has around him struggled with scoring points throughout the year. But the blame doesn’t start with Ryan. Most of the Atlanta Falcons offensive struggles could be pointed directly at Steve Sarkisian.

Becoming the offensive coordinator for a former MVP, and arguably the best wide receiver in the game in Julio Jones should have seen a smoother transition. Instead, Falcons fans were subjected  to a very bland and predictable offensive system. It became obvious to anyone who was watching that the NFL made Sarkisian appear to be way in over his head at scheming against opposing defenses. Perhaps that’s the reason many fans were eagerly awaiting his removal.

However, continuity is a strong reason why Steve Sarkisian was retained. Sarkisian’s removal  would have made for Ryan’s fifth offensive coordinator in his 10-year career. That importance was highlighted in Ryan’s own words on SiriusXM NFL Radio according to profootballtalk.  He stated, “Continuity in this league is sometimes hard to come by. But, I think we’re way ahead of where we were last year. And I think that’s going to benefit us when we get into those in-game situations of having a comfort level of what to expect in those type of situations. So it’s going to be huge for us this year.”

But the drop off in points scored is hard to ignore.  In 2016 the team scored 33.8 points per game. They dropped to 22.1 points per game last season.

However, when analyzing Matt Ryan’s numbers under Kyle Shanahan and his numbers under Sarkisian the production, assuming Ryan’s growth in Sarkisian’s system, is nearly the same.

Kyle Shanahan

Totals: 2 seasons, 9,535 yards, 59 touchdowns, 23 interceptions
Averages: 68.1 completion percentage, 4,768 yards, 30 touchdowns, 12 interceptions

Steve Sarkisian

Totals: 1 season, 4,095 yards, 20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
Average: 64.7 completion percentage, 4,095 yards, 20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions

It should be noted that Kyle Shanahan dealt with some serious heat after his first season with the Falcons. But he made a drastic turn around in year two. The final result was an appearance in the Superbowl.

This year’s Falcons should be much more comfortable executing the scheme that Sarkisian wants to run. Plus they have added a plethora of weapons on the offensive side for him to work with. Which should result in getting Julio Jones more touches in the redzone. This is Sarkisian’s system with his players so there is no room for excuses.