When a team enters the season with Super Bowl aspirations and craters, missing the playoffs completely, winds of change generally blow through the organization.
So it is with the 5-9 Atlanta Falcons. Coach Dan Quinn's job is safe, but the rest of his staff could be in jeopardy of losing jobs.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday on Up To The Minute Live that Quinn is expected to make significant changes to the Falcons coaching staff.
"At this point...it sounds like a strong possibility that there will be significant changes to coach Dan Quinn's coaching staff," Pelissero said. "Now, owner Arthur Blank has already said publicly he does not think Quinn is the problem. My understanding is Dan Quinn, who got a contract extension through 2022 just last summer, absolutely is going to be back. But this is a possibility here that he could end up cleaning out both of his coordinators -- that's offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel. It would not be a surprise if they overhaul things on both sides of the ball."
Sarkisian has been under fire from seemingly the moment he took over for Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta last year. The Falcons offense struggled mightily in the red zone in 2017 and rarely seemed in rhythm. The offense improved slightly this season under Sark, and remains in the top 10 in yards (9th) and scoring (10th).
Atlanta's offense has had a choppy season, highlighted by a five-game losing streak in which it didn't surpass the 21-point mark a single time.
We can't blame Sarkisian for offensive line injuries and struggles, players inexplicably fumbling countless times in scoring position, or injuries to top back Devonta Freeman. We can blame him for unbalanced and head-scratching play-calling at times. Alas, Sark seemed destined to be axed as one fall man if the Falcons missed the playoffs.
Pelissero offered one former offensive coordinator to watch in Atlanta: Darrell Bevell, who Quinn worked with previously in Seattle.
"If indeed 'Sark' is out, one name to keep in mind is former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell," Pelissero said. "He knows Quinn well from their days together in Seattle. Bevell, I'm told, was actually in the building in Atlanta this past spring doing some work with the coaching staff. He stayed in close touch with Dan Quinn, knows the type of offense they want to run. It would not be a huge departure in terms of their running game, although certainly there would be some different things he would bring to the table schematically as they try to get the MVP from a couple years ago -- Matt Ryan -- and all those weapons back on track."
As for Manuel, he came over from Seattle with Quinn in 2015 and worked as the secondary coach before being elevated to defensive coordinator in January 2017. Despite the relationship it appears Quinn might decide to move on from Manuel, which could come with the head coach reassuming a bigger ownership of the defense.