The Atlanta Falcons are reportedly set to hire former Washington and USC head coach Steve Sarkisian to be their new offensive coordinator, replacing Kyle Shanahan. So much for those Chip Kelly rumors.
Shanahan is heading west to become the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers after coaching the Falcons offense three-quarters of the way to a Super Bowl championship. Do not ask about that fourth quarter.
Sarkisian, having just recently landed back on his feet in the coaching world after a tumble out of the profession, is now in line for his second promotion in a month.
Source confirms that Steve Sarkisian is all but certain to be named the #Falcons next offensive coordinator. Announcement forthcoming.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) February 7, 2017
The Falcons announced the hiring shortly thereafter.
The Falcons have agreed with Steve Sarkisian to become Atlanta’s offensive coordinator.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) February 7, 2017
Sarkisian will return to the NFL for the first time since his one season in the league in 2004 with the Oakland Raiders, where he was the quarterback coach under former head coach Norv Turner. After one year at Oakland, Sarkisian returned to USC to be the quarterback coach, the position he left the Trojans for when he moved to Oakland.
After two years under Pete Carroll, Sarkisian was bumped up to assistant head coach and offensive coordinator in 2007 and accepted his first head coaching job in 2009 with Washington in the Pac-12. He remained there until USC came calling once again about their head coaching vacancy following the firing of Lane Kiffin, and he took the job in 2014, but he was terminated in 2015 due to his ongoing battles with alcohol getting in the way of his job as head coach of the Trojans.
After some time off from coaching, Sarkisian was picked up and added to the Alabama football staff in an analyst role, where he was available to step up as offensive coordinator prior to the College Football Playoff national championship game against Clemson this past bowl season. Sarkisian once again replaced Kiffin in the role, as Kiffin was pushed out to take on his job as head coach at FAU. Sarkisian was expected to remain on as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, but the Atlanta job was seemingly enough to entice Sarkisian to move on just as quickly.
It should be a good job for Sarkisian, who is recognized for his previous work with quarterbacks, because he is taking on a role that allows him to work with one of the top passers in the game. Matt Ryan is coming off an MVP season, and it just so happens both Sarkisian and Ryan are looking to take the next step after failing to close out championship games with a win. The rest of that Atlanta offense isn’t bad either.
So now Nick Saban is in need of an offensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa once again. Who wants to see Saban and Chip Kelly?