The Atlanta Falcons had a down season and all thee coordinators paid the price. Dan Quinn fired offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. He certainly made the correct decision to fire Sarkisian.
The Atlanta Falcons announced that they have let Steve Sarkisian, Marquand Manuel and Keith Armstrong go after the team went 7-9, in a year that the team was expected to compete for a Super Bowl. The club tweeted the following statement from Dan Quinn:
Matthew Tabeek of atlantafalcons.com has the full story on the coaching changes. On the surface it would see like Steve Sarkisian should not have been fired. Looking at the numbers the Atlanta Falcons offense was number six in total offense, posting 389.1 yards per game.
Scoring wise Atlanta ranked number ten. So the Falcons were certainly a top 10 offense in every sense of the word. So why was Sark fired?
A closer look shows that the Dirty Birds were the fourth best passing offense in the NFL with 290.8 yards per game. Yet the running game was the polar opposite. The Falcons only ran for 98.3 yards, ranking number 27 in the NFL.
The lack of balance helped prevent the Atlanta offense from being the best it can be. Sarkisian had a bad habit of abandoning the run far too soon, when it’s ineffective early. This has allowed opposing defenses to tee off on Matt Ryan, sacking him 42 times.
The other factor to consider is the fact that the Atlanta Falcons offense was very inconsistent. After being stonewalled in week one against the Eagles, scoring only 12 points, the Falcons offense caught fire and averaged 37.7 points per game, over the team’s next three. Unfortunately the team won only one of those three games.
Then came another let down in which Atlanta only scored 17 in Pittsburgh. They had a difficult time dealing with the Steelers pressure packages. After that, the Atlanta offense kicked back into high gear, scoring 31.7 points per game over a three game stretch. This time the Falcons won all three games to get back in the race with a .500 record.
The next stretch of games is where the wheels fell off. The explosive Atlanta Falcons offense failed to score more than 21 points in a game, over a five game stretch. The Dirty Birds scored a measly 17.6 points per game over that five game stretch and lost all five games, ending any playoff hopes.
The Falcons loss two games in which they scored over 30 points which is an anomaly. In the other seven losses the team avenged only 16.7 points per game. In the Dirty Birds’ seven wins, the team averaged 32 points per game. That’s too much of a discrepancy.
The Atlanta Falcons offense was far too inconsistent for a unit that was built to be the strength of the team. The potent offense that is stocked with talented playmakers, should be able to win games for the team, when the defense is not at its best. That just wasn’t the case for the Dirty Birds offense with Steve Sarkisian at the helm.
For the reason of inconsistentcy, I do believe, the Atlanta Falcons did the right thing by firing Steve Sarkisian. Now the team must look for a replacement. Former Broncos head Gary Kubiak and Darrell Bevell are the early candidates mentioned. I personally endorse the hiring of Kubiak who is a master of the offense the Falcons already run.
One thing is for certain, whomever the new offensive coordinator is will have a large say in rather the Atlanta Falcons are able to win that elusive Super Bowl that the team and fans desperately desire. Dan Quinn must make the correct hire, this time his job depends on it.
Do you think firing Sark was the correct move? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Atl All Day will continue to bring you the latest news and analysis on the Atlanta Falcons offseason moves. We will also have the latest on all of your favorite Atlanta area sports teams.
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