Archer: "Both coordinators did yeoman's work with the problems they were presented"

The Morning Show w/ John & Hugh
December 31, 2018 - 11:04 am

© Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports / © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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The Atlanta Falcons ended their 2018 season on a high-note with a 34-32 win over divisional opponent Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. 

The win was the third-straight for the Falcons, who finished the year 7-9. And despite ending the season on an upswing, this is the first losing season in head coach Dan Quinn's four seasons with the team.

Now, the evaluation process begins. With reports coming out a few weeks ago about potential coaching staff changes, all eyes are on both coordinators: OC Steve Sarkisian and DC Marquand Manuel. 

Falcons Radio Network analyst Dave Archer joined John and Hugh on Monday, and doesn't necessarily believe either coordinator should go.

"I would challenge anyone to deal with what (DC Marquand Manuel) had to deal with; from a gut-the-team standpoint with the middle of your defense just completely being taken out."

The Falcons defense was without three of their Pro-Bowl starters: strong safety Keanu Neal (ACL), free safety Ricardo Allen (Achilles) and linebacker Deion Jones (foot). Jones was able to return in Week 11. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (ankle) also missed a couple of games in the middle of the season.

"To have to play 21 players defensively--and Marquand tried to juggle it around and maybe playing with guys that probably weren't, frankly, capable of playing at this level--I thought he tried to patch-work and give us an opportunity to win games. You go back to what he did a year ago with a healthy defense, they were a Top 10 defense. I think you have to judge him not just on this season but the body of work when he's got all his personnel."

Offensively, injuries were also a factor. Both guards, Andy Levitre (triceps) and Brandon Fusco (ankle) were lost for the season. Running back Devonta Freeman (groin) was also out after Week 5. 

Despite that, the Falcons still finished the regular season with the No. 6 ranked total offense. So, what next for second-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian?

"I thought Sark did an excellent job of coming up with ways to move the football, put points on the board. They're dramatically different than they were a year ago."

Arch points out Julio Jones' increased production from a year ago, and how Sarkisian was able to use rookie receiver Calvin Ridley. All of these with an offensive line that "wasn't very good."

"I think both coordinators did yeoman's work with the problems they were presented."

Do you think the Falcons should retain both coordinators?