Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian Won’t Be Joining Cardinals As OC

UPDATE 8:07 PM: Sarkisian was in fact offered the job by the Cardinals, but turned it down to go back to coach under Nick Saban at Alabama, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

7:15PM: We heard yesterday that the Cardinals were “closing in on” Steve Sarkisian to be their new offensive coordinator, but that’s apparently no longer the case. Sarkisian is now “unlikely to be joining Kliff Kingsbury’s staff”, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

It’s unclear what made the talks break down, but it looks like Sark won’t be headed to the desert. Kingsbury was hired earlier this week in one of the biggest surprise coaching hires of the cycle. The team hired Vance Joseph to be their defensive coordinator yesterday. Sarkisian was fired as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator after Atlanta had a disappointing 7-9 season.

Before that, Sarkisian was the offensive coordinator at Alabama and head coach at USC. He’s also been linked to the Lions’ OC opening, so it’s highly possible he’ll still land a gig. Matt Ryan still put up good numbers in Sarkisian’s offense, but red zone efficiency was always a problem, and the team struggled to run the ball.

Things just never looked the same for Atlanta’s offense after Kyle Shanahan left, and Sarkisian quickly drew the ire of fans. It’ll be interesting to see who Kingsbury hires instead, as they’ve also been linked to Texas State coach Jake Spavital, as well as former Giants coach Ben McAdoo.

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Cardinals Closing In On Steve Sarkisian For OC

The Cardinals are nearing a deal to make Steve Sarkisian their new offensive coordinator, according to Chris Moretensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

New Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury was hired — in large part — due to his offensive acumen, and he’ll be calling plays in 2019. Therefore, Sarkisian is likely to serve in a more administrative role that will probably include game planning and offensive install.

Sarkisian wasn’t the only candidate Kingsbury and the Cardinals had in mind for offensive coordinator. Initial reports suggested Texas State head coach Jake Spavital could be in line for the position, while the 49ers denied Arizona’s request to interview run game coordinator Mike McDaniel. Former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo will also interview for an offensive job with the Cardinals, and could still presumably be hired down the line.

Sarkisian, a former collegiate head coach at both Washington and USC, was fired by the Falcons last month along with defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. Offense was hardly the problem in Atlanta, as Sarkisian’s unit ranked top-10 in scoring, yards, and DVOA.

Now that he’s in Arizona, Sarkisian will be tasked with helping the development of second-year quarterback Josh Rosen. He’ll also work with an offense that includes assets such as David Johnson, Christian Kirk, and — if he’s re-signed — veteran wideout Larry Fitzgerald.

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Coaching Rumors: Jets, Gase, Cardinals, Lions

The Jets likely preferred Baylor’s Matt Rhule to Adam Gase, but as previously reported, things fell apart when Rhule refused to allow the Jets to pick his staff for him. The Jets especially wanted to choose his offensive coordinator and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears the Jets floated Todd Monken to him as an option.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Cardinals asked, but were denied, permission to interview 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel for their offensive coordinator position, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets. McDaniel is tight with head coach Kyle Shanahan and the team was not prepared to lose him, especially to a divisional rival.
  • “It appears” that Steve Sarkisian and Nathaniel Hackett are in the mix for the Lions‘ offensive coordinator vacancy, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM tweets. The Lions have been looking for a new OC ever since Jan. 1 when they announced that Jim Bob Cooter‘s contract would not be renewed.
  • Sarkisian has also spoken with the Cardinals about their OC job, Marvez tweets. Sarkisian has been on the market since Dec. 31 when he was fired by Atlanta.
  • Both the Cardinals and Browns have sought permission to interview Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The position(s) he’ll be discussing with those teams are unclear, however.

South Coaching Rumors: Koetter, Quinn, Marrone, Rivera

It has been assumed that the Buccaneers and head coach Dirk Koetter would be parting ways at the end of the season, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) does not necessarily believe that assumption is a safe one. Rapoport says Koetter could certainly be fired — which would then make him a very appealing OC candidate for rival clubs — but the Glazer family has not ruled out keeping Koetter and the entire “upper structure” of the team. After all, Tampa Bay’s offense is the most prolific in franchise history, and the club’s defense has become a league-average unit since former DC Mike Smith was fired in October.

Now for more rumors on head coaches in the league’s south divisions:

  • Rapoport also says Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is expected to be back for 2019. There has not been much national chatter about Quinn’s job security anyway, so that does not come as much of a surprise. but Rapoport does expect “significant changes” at the coordinator spots. We already learned that offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is likely on his way out, and Rapoport confirms that Darrell Bevell will be on the short list to replace him. Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel also appears in danger of losing his job [SOURCE LINK].
  • At the end of November, Rapoport said that Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone is in no danger of losing his job, and he doubled down on that report today, saying that Jacksonville owner Shad Khan and executive VP of football operations Tom Coughlin believe in Marrone. The team will seek a new QB and a new offensive coordinator, but it currently sounds as if Marrone will get another shot in 2019. Of course, there have been rumblings that Coughlin himself will consider taking over the head coaching reins, but Rapoport’s sources seem to refute to notion.
  • Despite rumors of a potential shakeup, Rapoport says the Panthers are expected to retain head coach Ron Rivera. New owner David Tepper reportedly believes in Rivera, who recently took over defensive play-calling duties and who would become one of the top head coaching candidates on the market if he were let go. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, though, suggests that Tepper could indeed go in another direction at season’s end, but if he does, it will be difficult to find someone who would represent a clear improvement over Rivera [SOURCE LINK].

Falcons Likely To Fire Steve Sarkisian

There’s a “strong possibility” of significant changes to the Falcons’ coaching staff this offseason, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). This includes potential changes at offensive and defensive coordinator, which could put Steve Sarkisian and Marquand Manuel out of work. 

As Pelissero notes, head coach Dan Quinn‘s background is in defense and he exercises a great degree control on that side of the ball. The team’s hire at offensive coordinator will likely have a larger impact on the squad, which renders the OC choice as a more crucial decision than DC.

The next OC of the Falcons could be an old friend of Quinn’s. Former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell could be a strong candidate for the job, Pelissero hears, particularly since Bevell spent time with Atlanta coaches in the spring.

Under Bevell’s command, the 2017 Seahawks finished roughly league-average on offense, ranking 15th in yards, 11th in points, and 14th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, which measures efficiency. Bevell had been an offensive coordinator since 2006, spending five seasons with the Vikings before joining Seattle in 2011.

During his dozen seasons as an OC, Bevell’s units have finished as a top-10 DVOA offense five times. Despite his success, he’s widely blamed for Seattle’s controversial call at the end of Super Bowl XLIX, even though he might not have been the one who dialed up the play.

Despite a bevy of offensive weapons, the Falcons are 5-9 and will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The dismissal of Sarkisian feels like an inevitability and Bevell could wind up as the man to replace him, even if Falcons fans are largely opposed.

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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.

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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 NFL.com (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.

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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 NFL.com). 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.

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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 NFL.com 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.

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