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A Steve Sarkisian firing remains unlikely, as history tells us

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Sark’s security may not make fans happy, but history suggests it’s very real.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s your fun stat of the day: Since the 2006 season, teams have changed offensive coordinators a total of 12 times. In exactly zero of those instances, by my count, has the team in question swapped out an incumbent coordinator for an outside candidate. After all the buzzing about Gary Kubiak yesterday, I just thought everyone should know.

I lead with this stat because, as you can guess, this is another article about why Sark will at least finish the 2017 season as the offensive coordinator of the Falcons.

If you’re wondering why I’ve been arguing so strenuously here and on the Twitter machine that Steve Sarkisian is not going to be fired in 2017, you can better understand after looking at the math here. Teams make that kind of drastic move so rarely that it hardly bears mention, and it’s even more rare that a first-year coordinator finds himself on the outs. I’ll acknowledge that it has happened more in recent years—a full third of those moves have been in the last couple of years—but when you pair it with the Falcons’ ongoing reluctance to shake up the coaching staff mid-season, you get a pretty ironclad argument against the possibility.

For Sarkisian, a measure of job security allows him to focus on actually fixing this offense and getting it to play up to its considerable potential, rather than making panicky changes to stave off the axe. I think the team has made slight, important progress over the last two weeks, and while my expectations for in-season improvement remain modest, Sark is going to get the time to figure things out. I’m hopeful that by the end of the year, at least, we’re seeing enough to believe that this offense can be great again in 2018, as depressingly low as that bar may seem at the moment.

The alternative—that Sark isn’t the guy, he makes it abundantly clear over the last eight games of the season, and the two sides mutually agree to part ways after the season—would mean a new offensive coordinator yet again with yet another learning curve to steer through in Matt Ryan’s age 33 season. For everyone’s sake, I really hope Sark winds up being the guy. Kevin Knight has built a pretty compelling case in recent weeks that he is not, but the Falcons almost have to continue to believe they’re a handful of plays away from at least being a good enough offense to win, because they have been. It’s just that they’re not in any danger of being mistaken for the 2016 offense, or hell, maybe even the 2015 one.

I imagine you’ll all bookmark this one in case the Falcons defy history, but I imagine you won’t have to.