The Atlanta Falcons have fired offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and special teams coach Keith Armstrong, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Atlanta is overhauling its coaching staff, letting go of offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and special teams coach Keith Armstrong, per sources. Major changes for the Falcons.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2018
Head coach Dan Quinn will take over defensive coordinator duties, per Schefter. The Falcons were expected to make major changes after a disappointing season, and some of Quinn's coaching staff wound up paying the price.
Owner Arthur Blank already voiced his confidence in GM Thomas Dimitroff and coach Quinn, but some changes had to happen after a disappointing year. Dimitroff and Quinn are safe for at least another year, but a busy and pivotal offseason awaits the two men.
The Falcons' defense regressed significantly in 2018, though the losses of Keanu Deal and Deion Jones for most of the season can be cited as a main reason why. They finished eighth and ninth in scoring and yardage defense, respectively.
But in 2018, Atlanta finished 28th overall in yards allowed and 25th in scoring defense. That gave Quinn and the front office no choice but to shake things up on a defensive unit that has been widely regarded as one of the best in the NFL.
The Falcons offense was actually a lot better in 2018, averaging 25.9 points per game (10th in the NFL). Quarterback Matt Ryan rebounded nicely with 4,924 passing yards and 35 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley all enjoyed extremely productive seasons as wide receivers, too.
But the Falcons decided to cut the three coordinators loose anyway. Some changes had to happen after a promising season saw Atlanta miss the playoffs by two games. Now, Quinn and Dimitroff get to work in finding their new coordinators.
What This Means
The city of Atlanta is hosting this year's Super Bowl, and the Falcons hoped to play in front of their home crowd for the big game. But it wasn't meant to be, and now they have to figure out what steps to make in order to make up for a lost season.