A losing season in Atlanta has prompted an overhaul of the Falcons’ coaching staff, which began Monday as the team fired offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.
Head coach Dan Quinn will take over as defensive coordinator. He told the team’s website the consistency between team performance and his vision did not match.
“We know we have a group of players here we are excited about and in order for us to consistently play true to our identity in all three phases we thought we needed some changes,” Quinn said.
The Falcons missed the playoffs for the second time in Quinn’s four seasons at 7-9, a season marred by injuries.
Atlanta’s defense was 25th in points per game, 28th in yards allowed per game and 31st in third-down conversion percentage.
Officially, Manuel’s contract was not renewed. Quinn said he wanted his former player to be able to call plays elsewhere.
“Marquand is a talented coach and excellent teacher that I have coached with for a number of years,” Quinn said. “I believe he should have the opportunity to call plays for a defense, so we have decided to allow his contract to expire so he can explore those opportunities.”
Atlanta’s offense was 27th in the NFL in rushing. Losing running back Devonta Freeman to a knee injury didn’t help matters.
Quinn told the team’s website the Falcons made the move to part with Sarkisian after reviewing the entire season.
“Sark has shown he’s a good coach and play caller,” Quinn said. “After evaluating the entire season, I decided it was necessary that we had a new voice and direction for our offensive unit.”
—Field Level Media