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Falcons fire all three coordinators; Dan Quinn will take over Atlanta’s defense

January 1, 2019

It appears that Dan Quinn is following the playbook of his former boss, Pete Carroll.

Quinn is returning as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons following their disappointing 7-9 season, but all three of the team’s coordinators will not be back. The team announced that offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong are out.

ESPN’s Field Yates reported that Quinn will take control of the defense. NFL Network is reporting that Gary Kubiak could return to a full-time coaching role as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator.

Quinn told the team’s website that the firings were “difficult decisions” and that all three men were “excellent coaches.”

The Falcons struggled to a degree in all three phases, even as Matt Ryan had a strong season. Sarkisian struggled as a play caller predominantly in the red zone, which cost the Falcons a few close games the past two seasons. Atlanta’s topsy-turvy 2018 season saw the team start out 1-4, win three straight, lose five in a row and then close out the season with three straight victories.

Last offseason, Carroll made sweeping changes to the Seattle Seahawks’ coaching staff, firing both his offensive and defensive coordinators amid what looked like a rebuilding season in 2018. But Carroll apparently made the right calls, as the Seahawks are back in the playoffs despite major personnel and coaching overhauls and an 0-2 start to this season.

Quinn has to hope for a return to the playoffs next season, and it’s reasonable to think he’ll enter 2019 on the proverbial hot seat. He served under Carroll in two stints in Seattle and is showing he’s ready to face some pressure on winning while the team’s window remains open.

This was Quinn’s first losing season in Atlanta, but the Falcons now have missed the playoffs for second time in his four years. He guided the team to Super Bowl LI, leading the Patriots 28-3 in that game before watching New England roar back for a shocking win in an overtime classic.

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