Any mention of former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan elicits a lot of emotion, both positive and negative. On the one hand, he’s widely regarded as one of the NFL’s brightest offensive minds. On the other hand, he’s a cotton-headed ninny muggins. But no matter where you fall on that spectrum, he’s the San Francisco 49ers’ problem now. And maybe you’ve heard, we have a shiny new offensive coordinator named Steve Sarkisian.
Sarkisian’s pedigree is impressive, notwithstanding his mildly checkered recent history. I have no doubt he can hit the ground running with this offense. If Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff’s recent assessment is any indication, it’s going well so far. (Credit to the AJC’s JulieKate E. Culpepper for the quote.)
"To have Steve Sarkisian come in, his personality is very creative. He's very bright,” Dimitroff said. “He's got a personality that mixes very well with the players and most importantly at the top. He and Matt Ryan are hitting it off very, very well and I'm really excited to hear that as far as the communication and how they see the game and how they see the game going forward with this team."
“Yeah, so what, James? What’s he supposed to say?” There, I wrote your comment for you. (Feel free to write something more substantive now.) This is one of those off-season quotes that catches my attention.
Of course Sarkisian is fitting in well. His transition has largely taken place behind closed doors. He’s not had to make difficult decisions, answer difficult questions, or defend missteps in difficult situations. All that said, the ringing endorsement of his relationship with Ryan, particularly given the sometimes rocky road Ryan travelled with Shanahan, speaks volumes. To be fair, if you dig deep enough, I’m sure you can find a similarly flattering quote about Ryan-Shanahan. But two months in, everything is on schedule, and for me, that’s reassuring.