FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the decision to move offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian from the sideline up to the coaching box was one made during the bye week.
"Through the offseason, it was one of the topics that I discussed with him," Quinn explained. "And during the preseason, we tried both. I prefer him being up and just seeing everything. So, it was really after the bye, and he said, 'No problem.' It was just more really about me (designing) the ability to have the call to the quarterback right there and seeing everything to the hash, the yard line, really quickly. And I think our system, it benefits you to be in the press box."
With Sarkisian in the box, the Falcons got off to a fast start against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, jumping to a 17-0 halftime lead. But the Falcons didn't score in the second half, partly because of a strong defensive effort by the Dolphins and partly because of what appeared to be a very conservative offensive approach. Not to mention the Falcons went away from the running game.
Sarkisian could not address the move from the sideline to the box immediately because coordinators are not available to the media after the game. On Sept. 7, he said he preferred coaching on the sideline much more than in the box because of the ability to communicate with players.
Last Thursday, Sarkisian, a former college head coach in his first year as a NFL coordinator, spoke about coaching from the sideline.
"I think that the biggest thing for us is, it's not even so much always the dialogue," Sarkisian said of being close to the players. "The dialogue is important. But it's just along the lines of communication as far as there may be something in a drive that I can relay to (backup quarterback) Matt Schaub, and he can get to Matt Ryan. So much of my time in between drives is focused on, 'What are we going to do next?' based on what we've done, what they're doing to combat what we're doing. 'OK, now where are we headed?' Sometimes, those subtle discussions don't always happen face to face. Sometimes they happen indirectly through a third person. Sometimes it's very briefly pointing at a picture and moving on.
"I think back and looking back at that first game when I was in the box, there's some value to that, too, about seeing the game. I don't know if there's an exact right way or wrong way to call plays. Again, I think it's a feel thing and what best suits you and the team and then ultimately, what is in the best interest of the team to be as successful as we can be."
Obviously Quinn feels it's in the team's best interest for Sarkisian to be in the box.