Steve Sarkisian replaces Kyle Shanahan as Falcons offensive coordinator

The Falcons need someone to take over the league's most high-powered offense with Kyle Shanahan now the new 49ers coach. they've found their guy, and he wasn't already on staff, or even in the NFL. Alabama offensive coordinator and former USC coach Steve Sarkisian will replace Shanahan, the Falcons announced on Tuesday.

The move is surprising for several reasons; the talk in recent weeks was that the man Shanahan replaced in San Francisco, Chip Kelly, could be the Falcons' next offensive coordinator. There's also the matter of Sarkisian being short on NFL experience -- he spent just one season as the Raiders quarterbacks coach back in 2004.

It'll be interesting to see how quickly Sarkisian can implement his offense. Shanahan had the unit playing like a well-oiled machine in 2016 after needing 2015 to get everyone to buy in. In fact, early in the '15 season, a mic'd-up Matt Ryan was caught telling Shanahan, "I can't wait until I know the offense inside and out though, bro, because we are going to kill people with it."

Ryan expounded on those thoughts last week, days before Super Bowl LI.

"I felt like once I would get to that point, we would do really, really good things. And we have," Ryan told 680 The Fan (via EastBayTimes.com). "I feel like it's been a good relationship between Kyle and myself. ... He does a great job of putting people in position to be successful and giving a defense a lot of different things they have to defend."

Ideally, the Falcons would keep Shanahan's offense, even with Shanahan now on the other side of the country. But will that happen?

"I'm not worrying about that right now," Ryan said. "But with the success that we've had, I hope things are similar as we keep moving forward."

That certainly seems reasonable. Whatever Sarkisian decides, he'll have Ryan, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and one of the NFL's most underrated offensive lines. In theory, it would be pretty hard to mess that up.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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