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Steve Sarkisian hire was no leap of faith for Falcons' Dan Quinn


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Lindsay H. Jones, USA TODAY Sports Published 2:21 p.m. ET Aug. 15, 2017 | Updated 3:39 p.m. ET Aug. 15, 2017

 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — When Dan Quinn invited Steve Sarkisian to visit Atlanta Falcons headquarters during the 2016 offseason, the request was both one coach helping out a peer and a preliminary job interview.

Sarkisian, who had been fired by the University of Southern California in October 2015 after a series of alcohol-related incidents, attended practices in the spring and during training camp, and sat in with Quinn’s staff during meetings.

Quinn was impressed enough with his acumen that Sarkisian, who spent 2016 working as an offensive consultant on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama, was one of the first people the Falcons coach called.when offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan took the top job with the San Francisco 49ers after the Super Bowl in February.

Quinn thought Sarkisian’s experience in a West Coast offense, both as a player at BYU and throughout his coaching career, would help ensure a smooth transition.

“To me, he has not only called (plays) in this system before, but he has such a background from playing quarterback and being a play caller for a long time. I thought he was the perfect fit for me,” Quinn told USA TODAY Sports recently. “Kyle did a fantastic job, and I was thinking, ‘Who would be the best guy, so we could be our best self?’ And (Sarkisian) was that.”

 

With a stop as the Oakland Raiders' quarterbacks coach in 2004 serving as his lone experience at the NFL level, Sarkisian returns to the league after more than a decade in college football. He inherits last season's top-scoring offense, which features the reigning MVP in quarterback Matt Ryan, an all-pro receiver in Julio Jones and a strong running game powered by Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

Sarkisian isn't trying to reinvent the attack, but rather keep it on track. The scheme Shanahan orchestrated for two years remains largely intact, with Sarkisian looking to make minor tweaks. Such changes could include more no-huddle drives, a staple of Sarkisian’s offenses at Washington and USC.

Immediately after he was hired in February, while the rest of Quinn’s staff was on vacation, Sarkisian pored over video of all of the Falcons’ 2016 games and examined how Atlanta used star players like Jones. His next step, when players were allowed to return to the facility in April, was to establish a relationship with Ryan.

“We think a lot alike when it comes to schemes and styles of play, when it comes to what we're thinking on different types of plays and how to attack different coverages,” Sarkisian said of Ryan. “Our dialogue is really good. We have open dialogue that is comforting for both of us.”

 

Sarkisian voluntarily checked into a rehab facility in October 2015 when he was fired by USC, and Quinn said he did his own research into the coach's past before hiring him. Quinn said the Falcons have a plan in place to help with Sarkisian’s recovery, though he declined to discuss specifics.

Now Sarkisian wants to pay the Falcons back for giving him another chance to coach.

“I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity,” Sarkisian said. “For all of them to trust me to come and do this job is something I'm very grateful for. Now I'm just trying to do my best to continue to show them that they made a great choice to have me.”

 

 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/falcons/2017/08/15/steve-sarkisian-dan-quinn-atlanta-falcons-offensive-coordinator/554131001/

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1 hour ago, Tim Mazetti said:

Well, I can't remember a personnel decision that DQ has made that hasn't worked. We got Sark and Manuel in new positions.

Ain't skeert.

 

Richard Smith wasn't great considering he had play calling stripped mid-season and was fired.  But to Quinn's credit he doesn't keep doing something that doesn't work.  Smitty never took over for BVG or Nolan no matter how bad the dumpster fire got.

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9 minutes ago, Tim Mazetti said:

Forgot Smith.Thanks.

The Smith hire was bizarre.  Quinn seems to want young, energetic coaches who are willing to live at Flowery Branch and are hungry to master their craft.  Smith does not seem to fit the mold.

That being said, our defense went from 32nd to 16th in Smith's first year.

Edited by Falconsin2012
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1 hour ago, Falconsin2012 said:

The Smith hire was bizarre.  Quinn seems to want young, energetic coaches who are willing to live at Flowery Branch and are hungry to master their craft.  Smith does not seem to fit the mold.

That being said, our defense went from 32nd to 16th in Smith's first year.

I think it was a great hire at the time. The youth movement was clear but our defense needed a little less rah rah at the time and more discipline. We needed to get Back to basics and that what Smith brought. Also he connect Beasley with Von Miller. 

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13 hours ago, Falconsin2012 said:

The Smith hire was bizarre.  Quinn seems to want young, energetic coaches who are willing to live at Flowery Branch and are hungry to master their craft.  Smith does not seem to fit the mold.

That being said, our defense went from 32nd to 16th in Smith's first year.

I haven't checked the stats but It really surprises me that we had the 16th ranked defense a couple of years ago.  Smith had very little talent to work with.  

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