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Steve Sarkisian will return as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator despite a decline in production in his debut 2017 season.

Sarkisian has been the target of criticism as the Falcons [url=http://www.titansfootballauthentics.com]Tennessee Titans Jerseys Womens[/url] , who lost at Philadelphia in the divisional round of the playoffs last week, fell short of a return trip to the Super Bowl.

Coach Dan Quinn announced Thursday that Sarkisian will return in 2018.

After leading the league in scoring in 2016, the Falcons fell to 15th this season . Quinn said Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the full blame for the offense’s struggles.

”To be clear with you, if this was about one person, that decision already would have been made,” Quinn said, adding he has ”no issue with making changes, no problem with that but I have no interest in making change just for the sake of change.”

The Falcons finished 10-6 in the regular season and won a wild card game at the Los Angeles Rams before the 15-10 loss to the Eagles . The Falcons were scoreless in the second half. Sarkisian’s play-calling was second-guessed when Atlanta couldn’t score after having a first down at the Eagles 9. A fourth-and-2 pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones was incomplete.

Sarkisian was hired from Alabama after Kyle Shanahan was hired as San Francisco’s coach. Quinn offered the reminder that Shanahan also faced harsh criticism following is first season leading the offense in 2015. Atlanta led the league with 33.8 points per game in 2016.

”A number of people wanted his head” after the 2015 season, Quinn said. ”What has stayed the same and what I learned during that process is what you’re doing in order to build consistency, you better be consistent.”

Quinn said the struggles on offense were ”not an indication of one play-caller or one player. It’s on all of us.”

Meanwhile, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said reaching an agreement on a contract extension with Ryan will be ”the number one focus” of the offseason.

Ryan is entering the final year of his six-year, $103.75 million contract. He will be 33 next season but is still seen as the team’s long-term starter who, like New England’s Tom Brady, can play to or beyond the age of 40.

”Personally that is my feeling,” Dimitroff said. ”He’s a guy who takes care of his body both on and off the field properly. … And of course we’re fortunate with the way the rules are set up in the league [url=http://www.redskinsfootballauthentics.com]Washington Redskins Jerseys Womens[/url] , they’re going to preserve our quarterback, hopefully. Again, we want him to be part of this organization for a long time coming.”

Dimitroff expressed optimism an agreement on Ryan’s contract extension could come quickly.

”I think it’s not going to be that difficult of a negotiation, quite honestly,” he said. ”I think we’re going to be in a good spot with it.”

NOTES: Quinn confirmed special teams coach Keith Armstrong will have a second interview in Arizona’s search for a coach . Quinn said Armstrong ”is terrifically qualified to lead a team.” … Quinn said he is ”in the middle” of his search to replace quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan, who left to become the offensive coordinator at University of Washington. Among the candidates are longtime NFL assistant coach Greg Knapp, the Falcons’ former offensive coordinator under Jim Mora, and Jedd Fisch, who was UCLA’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season.



When Chris Long and LeGarrette Blount joined the Philadelphia Eagles after winning a Super Bowl in New England, both players envisioned another title run with a team on the rise.

They had more faith than most, but the Eagles are two wins away from a parade.

”I knew we’d be a playoff team and that’s why I decided this would be a good place to be and then what separates you is winning a game or two,” Long said as Philadelphia prepared for Sunday’s NFC championship game against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Eagles were 7-9 last year in the first season under coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz. Expectations were moderate entering 2017 with many experts projecting the team to be a year away from serious playoff contention.

But Blount saw a team that was close. The Eagles added receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, traded for defensive tackle Tim Jernigan and signed Long before giving Blount a one-year deal in May.

”I chose the Eagles for the reason of me fitting in really good here, having a championship run, having a banner season [url=http://www.cardinalscheapstore.com]Youth Arizona Cardinals Jerseys[/url] ,” Blount said after he signed. ”And they’re a really good team. They’re a really good team before I came. I just want to fit in.”

He was right and he’s fit in perfectly.

Wentz had an MVP-caliber season before he tore his ACL in Week 14 and the Eagles (14-3) secured the NFC’s No. 1 seed. Blount was the team’s leading rusher, though he’s played a secondary role since Jay Ajayi was acquired in a trade in October.

Blount hasn’t complained about fewer carries and has provided veteran leadership. He led the NFL with 18 touchdowns rushing last year when he earned his second Super Bowl ring in three seasons with the Patriots.

”We’re winning and that’s the overall goal,” Blount said. ”We don’t care about personal success. You can’t be selfish when everybody has one common goal. You have to make sacrifices for the betterment of the team. We’ve done that and it’s gotten us this far.”

Long played 65 percent of the snaps last season and posted four sacks, four tackles for loss and a forced fumble. His role has decreased in Philadelphia – he played 48 percent of the snaps – but he’s been an instrumental part of the team’s success and keeping a deep defensive line fresh.

”His attitude and the way he approaches things, coming from New England, coming off winning a Super Bowl, I think the biggest thing that Chris has brought here is a bunch of leadership, especially being the older guy in our room,” Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. ”Not being here, coming in the room with a bunch of new guys, man, he fit right in. I think the thing about Chris is when he goes out on the field, he means a lot. He doesn’t play a whole lot, but when he is in the game, man [url=http://www.ravenscheapstores.com]Youth Baltimore Ravens Jerseys[/url] , he wrecks shop.”

Former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky said Long is the one player on Philadelphia’s defense that he would be concerned with most because ”he never stops.”

”He has a next-level motor,” Orlovsky told The Associated Press . ”It’s unusual.”

The Eagles have other players who’ve won Super Bowls – Smith, Malcolm Jenkins, Corey Graham, Dannell Ellerbe, Chris Maragos, and Will Beatty – but Blount and Long did it most recently and were part of the Patriot Way so they’ve shared valuable experiences.

”There’s a lot of good resources on this team for Super Bowl experience,” Long said. ”Younger players really need to stick to the script, prepare hard and don’t try to do too much. The key is to take it out of your head that it’s the playoffs and show up and do your work.”

Blount echoed those feelings.

”You have so many things going on and it’s not something you can get away from it because it’s on TV, it on your phone, it’ on every bit of social media,” Blount said. ”So you have to make sure you zoom in and zone in on what you have to do and focus on what our goal is and the task at hand.”



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