Steve Sarkisian

Falcons OC Steve Sarkisian On The Hot Seat?

Steve Sarkisian is entering his second season as Falcons offensive coordinator, but the coach’s job could already be in jeopardy. Appearing on “The Wake Up Call” on ESPN Charlotte, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Sarkisian is on the hot seat (via Matthew Chambers of SBNation’s The Falconholic).

Specifically, Ledbetter noted that the offensive coordinator disappointed during his first year on the job, and a “change will be in order” if the offense struggles again. Furthermore, the team brought in new quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp in an attempt to help with the offensive game plan, with Ledbetter referring to the coach as Sarkisian’s “sounding board.”

Following a 2016 conference-winning season where the Falcons led the NFL in points and finished second in yards, the team took a step back in 2017. Atlanta ultimately ranked 15th in points and eighth in yards, with quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Devonta Freeman putting up some of their worst numbers in several seasons. The team is hoping that some of their offseason additions will help improve the offense, including first-round wideout Calvin Ridley. The Falcons also added free agent tight end Logan Paulsen and offensive guard Brandon Fusco.

Sarkisian was hired by the Falcons last offseason after Kyle Shanahan took the 49ers head coaching gig. The 44-year-old had recently served as the offensive coordinator at Alabama and the head coach at Washington and USC. His only other NFL stint came in 2004, when he served as the Raiders quarterbacks coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Retain OC Steve Sarkisian

Despite some iffy play-calling decisions in 2017, Steve Sarkisian is expected to return as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator in 2018, according to Ian Rapoport of (video link). Steve Sarkisian (Vertical)

This news doesn’t come as a huge shock, particularly after head coach Dan Quinn shot down the notion of Sarkisian being a candidate for the Seahawks’ OC vacancy back when it was still open. Still, the Falcons offense appeared to take a step back under his watch. In 2016, Matt Ryan won the MVP trophy under Kyle Shanahan‘s guidance and the Falcons put up 415.8 yards and 33.8 poins per contest. This past season, Ryan regressed and the team averaged less than 365 yards per game with 22.1 points each week. The Falcons went 0-7 in games in which they failed to score 20 points, making Sarkisian a target for criticism.

Despite the wishes of some Atlanta fans, Sarkisian will don the headset for a second season. From the sound of Rapoport’s report, that could be made official in a year-end press conference this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Won’t Allow Steve Sarkisian To Take Seahawks OC Job

In the wake of Darrell Bevell‘s firing, many have speculated that Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian could be the man to replace him. That won’t be the case. Atlanta coach Dan Quinn told reporters on Wednesday that there is “zero chance” of Sarkisian becoming the new OC in Seattle (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of Steve Sarkisian (Vertical)

[RELATED: Seahawks To Part Ways With DC Kris Richard?]

Sarkisian goes way back with Carroll, dating back to his USC days. While he would be a natural fit, Quinn is not about to gift his OC to his former boss.

The Falcons and Sarkisian have plenty on their plate already with a big divisional round matchup against the Eagles on the horizon. The winner of Saturday’s contest will face the victor of Sunday’s Saints-Vikings matchup in the NFC Championship Game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Falcons, Rams, Nagy, Fangio

The Falcons let two top Kyle Shanahan lieutenants leave shortly after their upper-echelon OC took the 49ers job, with Matt LaFleur and Mike McDaniel both departing for NFC West jobs. And in the eyes of NFL execs, that has hurt the Falcons.

Losing Kyle was bad enough,” one exec familiar with Shanahan’s system told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, “but letting the other two walk is crushing them right now. [New OC Steve Sarkisian] doesn’t know what he’s doing in that offense. He’s running some of Kyle’s plays, but he’s not setting up things the way Kyle did. It’s Kyle’s plays but it’s not Kyle’s offense and they don’t have any other coach in that building who knows the scheme with LaFleur and McDaniel gone, too.”

LaFleur is now working under Sean McVay as the Rams‘ OC, but McVay is calling the plays for the resurgent team. McVay will likely be willing to let the 37-year-old LaFleur leave in the offseason for a team that will let him call plays, La Canfora reports, adding that many scouts and execs viewed LaFleur as Shanahan’s top sounding board in Atlanta. The Falcons still rank seventh in total offense, but their performance has dropped off dramatically from the 2016 historically dominant attack.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks as the schedule nears the midseason point.

  • The Colts are not expected to retain Chuck Pagano for a seventh season, and one name to monitor will be Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. The second-year OC will be high (if not first) on Chris Ballard‘s list if/once he searches for his first head-coaching hire, Tom Pelissero of reports. The 39-year-old Nagy’s been on Andy Reid staffs for 10 seasons and is in his first as a solo OC; he and Brad Childress shared that title last season. Nagy does not call plays, but the Chiefs are operating one of the more innovative offenses in the game — one that ranks second through seven games. That figures to put Nagy on radars.
  • Much like Josh McDaniels has resettled with the Patriots, Matt Patricia may be difficult to pry out of New England as well. The longtime Pats defensive coordinator would need the “perfect situation” to leave for an HC gig, Pelissero notes. Patricia, 43, has been a monitored HC candidate for years.
  • Vic Fangio‘s contract with the Bears expires after this season, La Canfora reports, adding the 59-year-old DC will be in demand for a head-coaching position come hiring time. The Bears rank 13th in defensive DVOA despite not deploying a player who’s made a Pro Bowl, and Fangio’s unit helped win a game that included four Mitch Trubisky pass completions before holding Drew Brees without a touchdown pass a week later. The 49ers asked permission to interview their former DC for that job, but the Bears denied that request.
  • A report emerged earlier today Hue Jackson is tentatively expected to be the 2018 Browns‘ coach despite a historically awful start to his Cleveland career, but La Canfora is less certain he or the new-age front office will be asked back. Jackson is 1-23 since taking over last season, with only John McKay’s 1976-77 Buccaneers having compiled a worse 24-game mark, but the ex-Bengals OC joined a historic rebuilding experiment. La Canfora writes that experiment thus far failing so spectacularly will call for Jimmy Haslam to fire key front office staffers and Jackson.

Falcons Hire Steve Sarkisian As OC

Now that Kyle Shanahan has officially been named as the new head coach of the 49ers, the Falcons have found themselves a new offensive coordinator. Steve Sarkisian will be the team’s new play caller, Steve Sarkisian (vertical)

[RELATED: Rams Hire Falcons QB Coach Matt LaFleur As OC]

Sarkisian has been putting out feelers to NFL teams for at least a year now. Sarkisian, 43 in March, lost his job at USC amidst allegations that he had a problem with alcohol. Sarkisian’s assistants reportedly believed he was drunk during a contest against Arizona State and, after he was placed on a leave of absence, he reportedly tried to show up to a pre-practice meeting while intoxicated. After that, he took a job with Alabama as an “offensive analyst.” He served as the team’s offensive coordinator for the national title game, replacing Lane Kiffin, and was expected to serve as their OC in 2017. Instead, he’s going pro.

Sarkisian visited the Falcons during Atlanta’s training camp last year and he has a relationship with head coach Dan Quinn. Some expected the team to make an in-house hire, but it seems that Falcons quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur is leaving to become the Rams’ offensive coordinator.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ex-USC Coach Steve Sarkisian Seeking NFL Job

Former USC head coach Steve Sarkisian is putting out feelers to NFL teams and expressing interest in a coaching job, sources tell Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). Sarkisian is interested in becoming a quarterbacks coach or an offensive coordinator at the pro level. Steve Sarkisian (vertical)

Sarkisian lost his job at USC in October amidst allegations that he had a problem with alcohol. Sarkisian’s assistants reportedly believed he was drunk during a contest against Arizona State and, after he was placed on a leave of absence, he reportedly tried to show up to a pre-practice meeting while intoxicated. Sarkisian has since filed a $30MM wrongful termination lawsuit against the school.

Sarkisian, 42 in March, played quarterback at BYU and later had a short career as a QB for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. After that, he returned to his first school, El Camino Community College, and served as their quarterbacks coach. Eventually, Sarkisian found himself in the same role at USC and later spent a year on the Raiders’ coaching staff. Sarkisian became the head coach at Washington in 2009 and, in 2014, he came back to USC to man the sidelines. Unfortunately, that homecoming was short lived.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.