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Falcons hire Steve Sarkisian to replace Kyle Shanahan

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CFP National Championship Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons have hired Steve Sarkisian to be their next offensive coordinator, replacing Kyle Shanahan, who has left to become the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Sarkisian was Pete Carroll’s QB coach at USC from 2001 to 2003, left for one season with the Oakland Raiders, and returned in 2005 before being promoted to assistant head coach/offensive coordinator in 2007. He then took the head coaching job at the University of Washington in 2009, one year before Carroll became head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

Sarkisian then surprisingly was hired to become the head coach at USC in 2014 despite middling records at Washington. He was replaced in 2015 due to reported problems with alcohol and his health, with rumors that he was even drunk during a game against Arizona State. After some time in rehab, Nick Saban hired him as a special assistant last year and he was promoted to offensive coordinator for one game after Lane Kiffin left for a job at Florida Atlantic. (Kiffin was also a former head coach at USC, having preceded Sarkisian, and an assistant under Carroll from 2001 to 2006.)

Now what a quick rebound it’s been for Sarkisian, as his next assignment is taking over the number one offense in the NFL for a team that fell a 25-point collapse and OT shy of winning the Super Bowl.

Sarkisian is a former QB and his known for his work with QBs, but he’s also a ground-oriented coach. Though his college running backs were quite successful in college (Chris Polk, Bishop Sankey, Javorious Allen), they did not go onto big NFL careers. Not yet, at least. Among his players at Washington: Desmond Trufant, one of Atlanta’s top players, though one on the defensive side of the ball.

In another move relevant to the NFC and NFC West, the LA Rams are expected to make Falcons’ QB coach Matt LaFleur their next offensive coordinator.