Steve Sarkasian will return as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator despite a decline in production in his debut 2017 season.
Sarkasian has been the target of criticism as the Falcons, who lost at Philadelphia in the divisional round of the playoffs last week, fell short of a return trip to the Super Bowl.
Coach Dan Quinn announced Thursday that Sarkasian will return in 2018.
After leading the league in scoring in 2016, the Falcons fell to 15th this season . Quinn said Sarkasian doesn’t deserve the full blame for the offense’s struggles.
“To be clear with you, if this was about one person, that decision already would have been made,” Quinn said, adding he has “no issue with making changes, no problem with that but I have no interest in making change just for the sake of change.”
The Falcons finished 10-6 in the regular season and won a wild card game at the Los Angeles Rams before the 15-10 loss to the Eagles . The Falcons were scoreless in the second half. Sarkasian’s play-calling was second-guessed when Atlanta couldn’t score after having a first down at the Eagles 9. A fourth-and-2 pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones was incomplete.
Sarkasian was hired from Alabama after Kyle Shanahan was hired as San Francisco’s coach. Quinn offered the reminder that Shanahan also faced harsh criticism following is first season leading the offense in 2015. Atlanta led the league with 33.8 points per game in 2016.
“A number of people wanted his head” after the 2015 season, Quinn said. “What has stayed the same and what I learned during that process is what you’re doing in order to build consistency, you better be consistent.”
Quinn said the struggles on offense were “not an indication of one play-caller or one player. It’s on all of us.”
Meanwhile, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said reaching an agreement on a contract extension with Ryan will be “the number one focus” of the offseason.
Ryan is entering the final year of his six-year, $103.75 million contract. He will be 33 next season but is still seen as the team’s long-term starter who, like New England’s Tom Brady, can play to or beyond the age of 40.
“Personally that is my feeling,” Dimitroff said. “He’s a guy who takes care of his body both on and off the field properly. … And of course we’re fortunate with the way the rules are set up in the league, they’re going to preserve our quarterback, hopefully. Again, we want him to be part of this organization for a long time coming.”
Dimitroff expressed optimism an agreement on Ryan’s contract extension could come quickly.
“I think it’s not going to be that difficult of a negotiation, quite honestly,” he said. “I think we’re going to be in a good spot with it.”
NOTES: Quinn confirmed special teams coach Keith Armstrong will have a second interview in Arizona’s search for a coach . Quinn said Armstrong “is terrifically qualified to lead a team.” … Quinn said he is “in the middle” of his search to replace quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan, who left to become the offensive coordinator at University of Washington. Among the candidates are longtime NFL assistant coach Greg Knapp, the Falcons’ former offensive coordinator under Jim Mora, and Jedd Fisch, who was UCLA’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season.
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Pep Guardiola And Paul Cook Involved In Furious Tunnel Bust-up After Man City Fabian Delph Is Sent Off
MANCHESTER CITY manager Pep Guardiola was involved in a furious tunnel bust-up with Wigan manager Paul Cook during their FA Cup clash.
The Spanish manager was seething after his left-back Fabian Delph was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle – after referee Anthony Taylor appeared to change his mind.
BBC Pep Guardiola and Paul Cook were involved in a furious tunnel bust-up at half-time
BBC The two managers continued their difference of opinion as tempers flared
BBC Pep Guardiola was determined to get his point across
PA:Press Association The tempers first begin to flare up on the touchline as Man City were reduced to ten men
Getty Images – Getty Pep Guardiola laid his hands on Wigan boss Paul Cook as the fuse was well and truly lit
Referee Taylor appeared to change his mind in first-half injury time, after first having the yellow card in his hand and almost writing Delph’s name on it.
This clearly angered Guardiola, as well as the Man City players, who clearly felt Delph did not deserve to see red.
He went face-to-face with opposite number Cook, who remonstrated his point that it was a dangerous tackle on his man Max Power.
As the whistle was blown to bring the first 45 to an end, City players again argued with the officials feeling they had been hard done by.
Reuters Fabian Delph slid in on Max Power in first half injury time, which the referee adjudged to be reckless
AFP or licensors The panel at half-time were split on whether Delph should have seen red
Getty Images – Getty Referee Anthony Taylor swapped a yellow card for a red one and sent Fabian Delph for an early bath
Reuters Sergio Aguero then got involved as things threatened to get out of control at the DW Stadium
But it was on the touchline, and then down the tunnel where tempers really began to rise.
Members of both coaching staffs, as well as security, had to get in between the two warring managers, with Guardiola clearly heard screaming about the decision.
YOU SAID WHAT? Football manager apologises for foul-mouthed outburst
Former Man City and England star Peter Reid was even caught up in the melee, helping to split the two angry camps.
And the BBC panel speaking at half-time were split as to whether Taylor made the correct decision on the sending off.
Jesse Jackson Lebrons Slam Dunk For Justice Is Needed
The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he’s deeply insulted by a Fox News host’s “attack” on Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James.
Political commentator Laura Ingraham criticized the three-time NBA champion for his recent comments about social issues, suggesting he should “shut up and dribble.”
Jackson says it’s important for James, Stephen (STEH’-fehn) Curry, Kevin Durant and other NBA players to keep speaking out against injustice and the behavior of President Donald Trump.
Jackson says people told Jackie Robinson to just play baseball and told Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to stick to the church pulpit but Robinson and King replied that as men they had to speak out in a troubled world.
Jackson said Monday in that tradition James’ “slam dunk for justice is needed.”
James says he’ll continue to “talk about what’s really important.”
Twitter Reacts As Pep Guardiola’s Call For More Protection Backfires With Fabian Delph Sent Off For Man City
PEP GUARDIOLA’S calls for a clamp down on bad tackles appear to have been answered — but he won’t be happy about it.
The Manchester City manager wants more protection for his players following a spate of horror challenges.
Reuters Pep Guardiola’s call for more protection against tackling has been heard
Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane have received injuries following strong tackles in recent weeks.
City wanted to arrange a meeting with the head of the professional referees organisation to discuss more protection.
MAN DOWN Pep Guardiola and Paul Cook involved in furious tunnel bust-up after Fabian Delph is sent-off
Now Guardiola has got his wish — but it was Fabian Delp who red card against Wigan for a bad tackle.
And Twitter was quick to highlight the irony in the dismissal.
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