Earlier this week, the Falcons more or less cemented their 2018 coaching staff, bringing aboard running backs coach Bernie Parmalee and adding assistants on offense and special teams. As was the case a year ago, it’s a strong, deep staff, though questions remain over just how effective Steve Sarkisian is going to be.
Knowing that, and knowing how staffs turn over even on the most stable football teams, it’s worth asking a big question this Friday evening.
Will this staff look more or less the same heading into 2019?
The answer to this question depends on a few different factors. The first is whether Steve Sarkisian achieves more success with this offense in 2018. If he doesn’t, and the team backslides or goes nowhere, there’s a decent chance he’ll be fired in favor of Greg Knapp, Raheem Morris, or a new outside candidate. This team can’t really afford to squander another year with a contending roster on that.
Ditto Keith Armstrong, who has been here forever and is universally respected, but has now presided over some pretty mediocre special teams units in recent years. He’s been saved by a handful of great performances and, of course, Matt Bryant, but that won’t continue indefinitely. His trusted assistant Eric Sutulovich just got pushed out the door this week, too.
On the flip side of the coin, Dan Quinn is going nowhere, and Marquand Manuel could be a hot head coaching candidate a year from now. He presided over a very good young defense in 2017, and if that defense takes another step forward in 2018, Manuel will be a desirable candidate for his youth, player-friendly reputation, recent success, and blunt, no-nonsense approach to coaching. The Falcons could unfortunately be shopping for a new defensive coordinator in 2019.
My guess, in other words, is no. I think the Falcons will lose at least one coordinator to the wilds in 2018, be that by firing or another team hiring them. What say you?