Falcons coach Dan Quinn values his own job, so in a sense it’s easy to understand why he cleared out his coordinators this offseason.
But he’s also a human being in a business built largely on relationships, so he admitted it was difficult for him to fire offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.
He gave Sarkisian a job when the assistant was dealing with some personal issues of his own. He worked with Armstrong in Miami. And he coached Manuel in Seattle.
“I love football,” Quinn said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “My whole life’s work is there, but as much as I love football, I love the players and the coaches even more.
“So, it’s those relationships when you have to move on from people that you love and care about, it’s hard. But you do what’s best for the team. I thought for us making changes was what was best for the team. I certainly appreciated every coach that’s been here and had a chance to work with. Past that, you get a real appreciation in this moment to reset and say what does this team need right now.”
Manuel is still looking for work, but Sarkisian has returned to the college level at Alabama, and Armstrong latched on in Tampa Bay.
Quinn’s going to call his own defense, and brought in experienced assistants Dirk Koetter and Ben Kotwica to handle offense and special teams, and also added veteran assistants Mike Mularkey and Bob Sutton. It wasn’t an easy process, rebuilding such a significant part of his staff.
“It took a long time,” Quinn said. “Finding the right fits for the team, it took a while almost [from] the end of the season to just recently, that portion is done. It took a long time, but I thought it was important to get the right fits.”
It also puts a lot more focus on Quinn himself, after a Super Bowl run spiraled to 7-9 in two seasons.