Falcons overhaul coaching staff

The Atlanta Falcons have parted ways with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong as part of sweeping changes following a 7-9 season.

Coach Dan Quinn will serve as defensive coordinator moving forward, the team announced Monday.

"All three of these men are excellent coaches that I have a lot of respect for," Quinn said in a statement. "While these are difficult decisions, we know we have a group of players here we are excited about and in order for us to consistently play true to our identity in all three phases we thought we needed some changes."

Former Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is considered the favorite to become the Falcons' next OC and will interview with the team later this week, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Bevell, 48, coached on the Seahawks staff with Quinn and was previously the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings.

Although there had been speculation about the changes for a while, Quinn had vowed not to make any decisions until the conclusion of the season.

Sarkisian, a first-time NFL coordinator, held the role for two seasons after replacing Kyle Shanahan, now the coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Sarkisian spent his first season attempting to carry on the same outside-zone scheme Shanahan implemented and then added his own wrinkles during the second season. However, Sarkisian wasn't able to elevate the offense back to the Super Bowl-caliber level it had under Shanahan, despite having one-time MVP Matt Ryan, Pro Bowlers Julio Jones and Alex Mack, and weapons such as rookie Calvin Ridley, Austin Hooper, Mohamed Sanu and Tevin Coleman.

Manuel, who joined the Falcons four years ago as the secondary coach/senior defensive assistant, spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator. In 2017, the Falcons finished in the top 10 in both scoring defense and total defense for the first time since 1998. This season, they suffered a significant defensive drop-off. It didn't help when starting safeties Keanu Neal (ACL) and Ricardo Allen (Achilles) went down with season-ending injuries and when star linebacker Deion Jones missed 10 games following foot surgery to repair a broken bone.

Armstrong just completed his 11th season with the team. He once interviewed for the head-coaching job held by Quinn. Asked about the coaching staff evaluation process last week, Armstrong responded, "I don't worry about that part of it. I go out and do my job and coach my ass off and let the chips fall where they may."