Falcons’ hiring of Sarkisian risky but solid if problems under control

Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is seen on the sidelines during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Clemson Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is seen on the sidelines during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Clemson Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons’ next offensive coordinator has never called a play in the NFL and, in a far more important issue, was fired from his last head coaching job at USC because of admitted alcohol issue.

But this Steve Sarkisian hire might just work.

The Falcons will hire Sarkisian as Kyle Shanahan’s replacement. They will be handing him the keys to the NFL’s highest scoring offense and a quarterback, Matt Ryan, who was just named the league’s Most Valuable Player.

This will be the message from coach Dan Quinn and the organization: “Tell us what you know, show us how you think we can get better, but most of all don’t screw it up.”


Sarkisian has long had a great offensive mind. It is what enabled him to get head coaching jobs at Washington and USC. It’s the reason Alabama coach Nick Saban brought him in as an “offensive analyst” this past season behind offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, and then gave Sarkisian the OC job with Kiffin left for Florida Atlantic. Sarkisian actually coached only one game, the national championship game against Clemson. He’s also relatively young (42) and relates well to his players.

But almost every problem Sarkisian has had has stemmed from admitted alcoholism. It doesn’t make him evil and it certainly doesn’t mean this is a bad hire. It just means that if he is not strong in his recovery and lapses back into poor behavior because of the stresses of the job — or anything — his life and career will unravel again an the Falcons’ offense and season obviously will be impacted.

I’ll have more on this hire later. But my first thoughts are: It’s a good hire. If …

UPDATE: Here’s a link to my full column on Steve Sarkisian

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60 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

I guess the good news is when the Falcons play San Francisco they will know what to expect.


Thank goodness they didn't hire Chip Kelley......yet! He's billed as an offensive genius........I'll have to agree with that.....he's as offensive as they come.

TideDawg
TideDawg

I'd say more risky than solid. His play calling in the Alabama/Clemson game was woefully similar to the Shannahan ill advised plays in the final 4 minutes. Both teams had good running games and both OCs abandoned the run game when it was most needed to kill the clock.

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

Going in to the Super Bowl, teams in the playoffs with at least a 17 pt lead heading in to the 4th quarter were a 133-0.


Great job everybody! We made history!!!

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

A recovering alcoholic who has never called a play in the NFL has a nice ring to it for a sports town with 1 professional title. If you are actually trying to remain optimistic please pass the bottle down this way. I just watched us make history. They didn't just poop the bed, they pooped themselves while still lying in the bed. An entire country of sports fans are laughing...and they should. We will forever be known as "that team from that joke of a sports town that did the unimaginable on the biggest stage". 


By the way, we are tied with Sand Diego with 1 title. Yes, i said Sand Diego; you know, that city that is so irrelevant in sports that I forget that they even have sports teams. 


Cleveland has 9.


EightBurros
EightBurros

I heard arthur's already stocking up on extra liquor at the coaches' offices at flowery branch and the new stadium---sark likes to party hard!!

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

With 8 minutes to play the Birds has a 3rd and 1 for a SB win. Instead of knocking NE off the LOS they tried to out think the Pat's with a pass. Leading by 16 at that time you run and then punt but you take time of the clock or you make them use their timeouts. That play was stupid.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

This draft is huge for the Birds. Get 6 good players and things look pretty good. Sounds easy but far from it.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie This team is toast.  You don't pee in your pants in front of 115 million people throughout the world and bounce back.  It will be 2035 before this team does anything again.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Sez the idiot who can't even spell the coach's name properly. 

Do you EVER tire of looking like such a fool on here--day after day after day?!

EVER???

John92
John92

Now we see who are the true Falcon fans and who are the haters... The Falcons will be consistent winners as long as Arthur Blank is the owner and he allows his football people do their jobs.

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

@John92 Blank has been the owner for the last 15 years and they've been anything BUT consistent winners. Winners don't blow 25 pt leads with less than 20 minutes of game time left. 


Your logic is flawed. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@John92

After half a damn century, being "consistent winners" with ZERO championships doesn't mean crap.

Raise your standards.

Mr. Math Expert
Mr. Math Expert

Who cares anymore? The Atlanta Failcons won't be back to the big dance for at least 20 years. Everybody in the country is making fun of them right now.

attendee
attendee

Who knows Sarkisian might be in a big game and play sensible football and know how to manage the clock even if DQ doesn't know how to even after two seasons. DQ's lack of sensible play calling, ahead by 8 and you want to for the jugular?! Not even realizing that clock management would have given us a good chance to win, players didn't even have a chance compete. Hoping for a brighter future! 

TideDawg
TideDawg

@attendee Not likely! Sarkisian did the same thing in the Alabama/Clemson game. Poor clock management. All Alabama had to do was run 3 plays and eat up the clock. They threw it 3 times and used less than a minute. End result.....same as the Falcons.

bamadog
bamadog

@TideDawg @attendee this is true---this new guy knows nothing about running the ball and burning clock----the reason the Falcons lost that game was clock management---you always run the ball when you have a huge lead-------you wait till the play clock runs down to 2 seconds each play then you hike the ball--run it and keep doing it until its necessary to change play calling --otherwise the clock runs out and you win the game.  This philosophy of football is fleeting to many of these so called play callers---------they truly do not get it.  And on top of that mess during the Super Bowl----------------Falcons head coach allowed is DQ to back off of Brady the whole second half--------------so you mix this stupid pass play calling and the fact that they did not keep banging on Brady ---um sorry you lose.  Pretty stupid stuff all and all.

Mutley
Mutley

Atlanta sports franchises are always trying to be number 1 in something and now they are numero uno in blowing a 25 point lead in the Super bowl. Probably number 1 in losses of epic proportions.

cc1033
cc1033

It seems that Steve Sark slipped by the Falcon's filter. Young developing players deserve the same consideration the 42 years old coach was given.   

AMFILMSHD
AMFILMSHD

somewhere, there is a FG kicker named Matt, just wishing the Falcons ran the ball 3 times.  seriously, i thought the throw to julio, and the great catch was it.  Matty gets the SB MVP and the Falcons get the first title.  no other team has done what we did to the Pats.  If that was a normal game, with normal halftime, we win, in NE or ATL. 


can't wait for the #rematch #nflopeningnight  

TOJacket
TOJacket

Did Arthur ask him the simple question of....would you have ran it 3 times and kicked FG?...if yes then keep him.

Ric1957
Ric1957

You don't get to the Superbowl by being bad.  The Falcons proved more than one time this past year that they are one of the best teams in the NFL and if not for coaching mistake more than likely would have won THE Superbowl! Go Falcons. Can't wait for Football to start!!! Proud to be A Falcon fan!!! And it is all right with me if all these that don't want to be pull for some other team. 

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

Blank is responsible for the loss assuming he had control over Shanahan's interviewing for the SF job during the championship run. If he could have said wait until the superbowl is over he should have. Shanahan did not have his head in the game..fully...it was probably in San Francisco. 


If Alabama had been able to keep Kiffen tethered until after the championship game, I think Alabama would have won. It's just stupid to let a key management personnel interview for another job before the season is over. It's not only distracting to him but to the team. 


As for the new OC...maybe Atlanta rushed into it a bit. 

Mike
Mike

There is no question that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I am so sick and tired of you Monday morning quarterbacks!  I guarantee you that if you asked Matt Ryan or Dan Quinn they would both say they would do a few things different but for God sakes leave it alone.  When we make it back next year you fair weather fans will be the first ones to jump back on the ban wagon.  You are either TRUE Falcons fans or you're not!!!

Big Wally
Big Wally

@Mike  There are losses, and then there are epic, historical losses, which this was.  By the way, only one team in the last 25 years that has made it back to SB after a loss, and that was the Bills in 92. History says the Falcups will not be in the Super Bowl again for some time.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Mike

Quinn WAS asked, dipwad--and he defended the strategy.

It's not a requirement that "TRUE Falcons fans" be delusional.

TideDawg
TideDawg

The Falcons made some serious mistakes in the game....that's a given. Clock management was one of the more serious because it also happened last year. They didn't learn from that mistake last year...will they learn from this year's mistakes in the games biggest show. There is good news....they got there. Only 2 teams achieve that every year. The bad news was their exit from the game.....sad and frustrating when a million football fans recognized what they should have done, but didn't. If Quinn didn't know what they should do in that situation, I worry that his excitement clouded his judgement....not good! It's a 60 minute game, especially when playing a 4 time Super Bowl winner, and the HC, OC, and team lost focus with 4 minutes left. If they don't learn from those mistakes and correct them.....the Falcons will never win a championship.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TideDawg

I'd have less trouble with Quinn blowing it if he'd simply admit it--instead of stubbornly, stupidly, and steadfastly defending that deeply flawed strategy with 4 mins left on the NE 22.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Shanahan,  The Falcups version of Bill Buckner and Steve Bartmon.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally Is that like that Sick en em17 class your mutts just had?...a total embarrassment to the State in the SEC conference....11 years since the dawgshats won any damn thing sport...lol!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Again, you seem to relish pointing out that the Dawgs haven't won "any damn thing" when they've totally dominated your team for the past decade and a half.

Do you really think that little of your own team???

What a pizz-poor supporter. No wonder you're an embarrassment to GT fans.

Not to mention your latest moronic prediction that the Falcons would be Super Bowl champs.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @DawgNole Just can't get the dawgs out of your mind, I think you are really a UGA fan since you post so much about the Dawgs TO.  

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

We've pulled it off 13 of the past 16 seasons with lesser classes, so yeah I think we can.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Welcome to the Atlanta Falcups, Sark.  51 years of ineptitude and bungling.  Good luck, not much pressure.  If you can figure out when to use a simple running play, you will surpass the previous idiot in your position.