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Posts tagged with "Steve Sarkisian"

Let’s talk about it.

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here, we’re at the bye week! Normally I’d bemoan the tediousness of it all, but this time around, I’m just grateful for the chance for Atlanta to take a breather and get healthy.

We are going to use this time to take stock of the Falcons and the NFL through four games, and so we’ll lead things off with an upbeat, hopefully fun question: Who has been the most impressive Falcon through four games?

There are some truly worthy candidates. Julio Jones has been his usual stellar self, Brooks Reed is having a weird resurgent season, Takk McKinley is putting together one hell of a rookie campaign, and Grady Jarrett is a legitimate beast in the middle of the defensive line.

For all that, though, I guess I’d go with Devonta Freeman. He has been absurdly good yet again, with 70 carries for 285 yards, an NFL-leading five rushing touchdowns, and nine receptions for 70 yards over four games. That’s a combined 355 yards and five TDs in an offense that has needed every hard-fought yard, and Freeman still looks like one of the greatest backs in the league. Steve Sarkisian is obviously willing to lean on Free, and that means he’ll probably be one of Atlanta’s best all season.

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The Falcons dealt with this the whole offseason, and you saw it, because it was impossible to miss it—28–3, 28–3, 28–3. And riding shotgun to all the taunting was the idea that the mother of all Super Bowl hangovers was coming as a result of the mother of all Super Bowl collapses.

Two weeks in, not so much. And the Falcons have handled all of this so well, because they haven’t run from it. As recently as last week, players—all the way up the chain to Matt Ryan—were speaking freely about overcoming the past. There wasn’t a ceremonial burial of a football, or an embargo on talking about 2016. Instead, the players and coaches have hit what they had coming right between the eyes.

And the reason why is simple. They did what few NFL teams have the stomach to when things go sideways—behind the GM they’ve stuck with for a decade and a head coach they’ve invested in, they believed in their course and stuck to it.

You can start, too, with one thing that actually changed. Atlanta handled its biggest offseason defection—Kyle Shanahan leaving to coach the Niners—by asking every candidate they interviewed, “can you run his offense?” In essence, screaming to the players, stay the course. The man Quinn found, Steve Sarkisian, has background with Pete Carroll, another sign of how Atlanta was building on the program, not tearing it down. So while the pilot was different, the script wasn’t and, at least on Sunday, neither was the result. Matt Ryan and company rolled up 257 yards and 24 points in the first half alone against Green Bay.

If they looked unaffected by all the noise, that makes sense too, because it had been impressed on the players that they’d been through a smaller version of this before. During Dan Quinn’s first season with the Falcons, the team saw a 6–1 start evaporate into an 8–8 finish—and that loomed over the 2016 offseason. The same way 28–3 will come up this year every time Atlanta has a lead, the 2–7 meltdown served as a caveat to every early-season win they had last year. And the Falcons were able to plow through all of that on their way to the Super Bowl.

And then, finally, there’s Quinn himself, a coach who was the king of the 2015 coaching carousel in large part because of his ability to reach players and lead, qualities that equipped him for the aftermath of the letdowns of both the ’15 season, and Super Bowl LI.

We don’t know yet whether or not the Falcons are going to be where they were last year, with a shot to win the franchise’s first world title. But what we should’ve known all along was simple—they most certainly were equipped to handle all that was coming their way.

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With the Atlanta Falcons bringing in Steve Sarkisian as the new offensive coordinator, the fullback position will be replaced on most base personnel formations with a second tight end. Atlanta currently employs Levine Toilolo as a second tight end for the offense, but the team With the Atlanta Falcons bringing in Steve Sarkisian as the new offensive coordinator, the fullback position will be replaced on most base personnel formations with a second tight end. Atlanta currently employs Levine Toilolo as a second tight end for the offense, but the team can and should look for an upgrade.can and should look for an upgrade.

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New Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian had the chance to have lunch with QB Matt Ryan this week, the coach’s first opportunity to really connect with the MVP.

What did Sarkisian take from the conversation? He compared it to another chat he had years ago with a top-caliber quarterback.

“I went to coach quarterbacks for the Oakland Raiders in 2004 — I was 29 years old — and I inherited Rich Gannon, who was two years removed from the Super Bowl [a loss to Tampa Bay] and his MVP season,” Sarkisian explained, “and Rich was really focused. He was very driven. He knew what he wanted. He knew what he liked.

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USC head coach Steve Sarkisian was placed on an “indefinite leave” from the football team by the university’s Athletic Director Pat Haden on Sunday after it became apparent that he was “not healthy.”

Clay Helton, the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, will take over as the interim coach, USC stated.

Sarkisian was not at the team’s practice early Sunday afternoon, prompting a phone call from the athletic director once he learned of the situation.

Based on the conversation, “It was very clear to me that he is not healthy,” Haden told reporters at a brief news conference. “I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence.”

When asked by a reporter to specify what led to the determination that Sarkisian was not fit to continue coaching, Haden responded, “It was apparent,” but did not elaborate.

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