Atlanta offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian looks on as the Falcons warm up for their NFC wild-card playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams on Jan. 6 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Atlanta offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian looks on as the Falcons warm up for their NFC wild-card playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams on Jan. 6 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Falcons’ offensive coordinator Sarkasian to return in 2018

Former UW coach was the target of criticism as Atlanta’s offensive production declined this season

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Steve Sarkasian will return as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator despite the team’s decline in production during the 2017 season.

Sarkasian, the former head football coach at the University of Washington and the University of Southern California, has been the target of criticism as the Falcons, 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 Sarkasian will return in 2018. Quinn said Sarkasian doesn’t deserve the full blame for the offense’s struggles. After leading the league in scoring in 2016, the Falcons fell to 15th this season.

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

Ryan is entering the final year of his six-year, $103.75 million contract.

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