There are many reasons the offense hasn’t been up to snuff, but here’s another possibility to add to the pile that is both staggeringly simple and very convincing on its face. I’m referring, of course, to Steve Sarkisian calling plays in the booth versus on the sideline.
As the mothership’s Matthew Tabeek notes, Dan Quinn made the decision to move Steve Sarkisian to the booth after the Bills game, which featured a frustratingly inept offensive performance after three more solid ones. That decision has, uh, not paid off.
Through eight games, the Falcons are 3-1 (scoring 26.0 points per game) with Steve Sarkisian on the sideline and 1-3 (16.5 ppg) when he's called games from the booth. pic.twitter.com/AJ7J4JKXDY— Matthew Tabeek (@MatthewTabeek) November 8, 2017
Let’s get the standard disclaimers out of the way early. This is only an eight game sample, with four games on either side of the ledger. The Falcons have also faced off against three terrific defenses over their last four games, and their one weak defense was slightly complicated by the fact that Sark was staring down into a fog-coated field against the Patriots. Also, there have been execution errors that are really out of Sark’s control, like a wide open Julio Jones dropping a touchdown or Austin Hooper screwing up his route.
That said, they faced off against a great Bears defense, solid Lions defense, and the excellent Bills in the first four games, too, and managed more than 20 points in all but one of those games. That version of the offense certainly wasn’t a world beater, either, but it was one that put up points.
So it might be a coincidence. Then again, a difference of ten points per game for a guy who (I believe) typically called plays from the sideline in college seems significant enough that it may be worth the Falcons making the switch back. Certainly no possibility should be entirely off limits at the moment as the Falcons try to salvage their season and get that scoring average dragged over 20 points.