Falcons offensive coordiantor Steve Sarkisian here chatting with the local media on Wednesday in Flowery Branch. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Part III: What Falcons OC Steve Sarkisian had to say

Part I: What Falcons OC Steve Sarkisian had to say

Part II: What Falcons OC Steve Sarkisian had to say

Here’s the third and final part of what he had to say:

ON THE EVOLUTION OF DEFENSIVE ADJUSTMENTS: “I think a lot of what’s happening in football these days, a lot of what happens is a trickle-down affect, the NFL does it first and it works its way down. But what’s happened recently is that high school football went to the spread offense and it went to shotgun, four and five wide receivers and went to seven-on-seven. Then it worked its way into college football with the no-huddle. It’s gravitated its way into the National Football League. The amount of just shotgun snaps in the NFL is at an all-time high….I think the most challenging thing for me is to be true to who we are to this offense. We are going to be in more I-formation sets than maybe other teams in the league. We are going to be under center more than teams in the league. The challenge is there is not a lot of evidence of that on film when we are game planning for our opponents because a majority of what they see are the shotgun and spread formations. We have to make sure that we are really digging for the information that we need so that we are calling the right plays to be successful and true to our system. That’s probably one of the biggest challenges that I’m facing right now and we’re all facing as a staff, make sure we are getting enough information to put our stamp on ‘this is a good play. This is a good formation’ so that we can be the offense that we want to be for the next how many every weeks are left in the season.”

ON HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK HE’LL WORK: “I don’t know. Early in the week it’s a pretty good grind. We’re in here a good 16 hours a day, roughly. Something like that.”

ON MANAGING HIS WORK LOAD AND RECOVERY: “The challenge is knowing our schedule. Knowing our days. What days are the lighter days. What days are those pockets of windows to do the things that are necessary for me. Like I said, early in the week is a lot more compacted than later in the week. Early in the week, we hunker down. There’s a lot of film. There’s a lot of studying. There is a lot of digging. Later in the week, there is more fine tuning and there becomes more time to do those things. It’s just adjusting the schedule and make sure that you’re putting in the necessary time needed.”

ON WHAT’S TOUGHER, FOOTBALL OR RECOVERY: “Recovery is tougher. Recovery is tougher. But they are both very gratifying. They really are. You have those moments when you lay down at night and you feel good about the things you’ve accomplished each day whether if they are on the field or in recovery. Man, they both feel really good.”

MORE ON HIS RECOVERY: “I was battling. I was competing. I was grinding. I wanted to be as healthy as I could be. It just wasn’t happening. It took more than just Steve Sarkisian, which for many years I had relied on. Me. I was going to fix it. I was going to make it work whether if it was on the field or in my personal life or whatever it was. It took some others quite honestly to guide me, to show me that it was OK to ask for help. That is was OK that there was another way of going about it rather than self-reliance, grit and toughness. I think that’s something that I’ve really appreciated is the people around me that are willing to do it and not always just trying to get a line on me. That’s something and a perspective that I’ve taken into coaching, too. We have really good guys on this staff. This isn’t about Steve Sarkisian and what he wants as part of the offense. It’s (offensive line coach) Chris Morgan, (wide receivers coach) Raheem Morris, it’s (quarterbacks coach) Wade Harman and (running backs coach) Keith Carter. We’ve got great coaches and allowing those guys to do their job to help me do my job to the best of my ability.”

ON THIS COACHING STAFF: “I just think the biggest thing I appreciate about this staff is how hard Dan works for us to have a very close camaraderie. The Brotherhood is not just something on a t-shirt. It’s real. It’s true. It’s not just with the players. It is with our staff and I think that’s something that is very unique in our profession. Guys are really working and pulling for one another and are there for one another is something that I really appreciate.”

Falcons coordinator Steve Sarkisian on taking over the NFL's top scoring offense with All-Pros Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Alex Mack. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter

ON THIRD DOWNS, DOWNS AND DISTANCES: “I think there is fine line in play calling. You want to stay ahead of the chains. You want to win on first-and-10. You love second-and-three. You love second-and-four when you’ve got your whole playbook at your disposal. But if that’s all that you do, defenses will start to defend just that. So, you have to be able to take your shots. You have to stay aggressive. You have to throw it down the field to give yourselves that other intermediate window, which is so good to you. So, you always want to have that plan of, OK we’re going to take our shot here. It is going to be second and 10 if it doesn’t work. Now what? I think all of the planning is critical because there is no play-caller that would rather had third-and-10 over third-and-four. We all love third-and-four. You’ve got everything at your disposal, but you can’t just play for third-and-four because the game is too hard to go 12 plays every drive to score a touchdown. You need to get yards in chunks. You need those explosive plays because your percentages of scoring on those drives skyrocket. The four- and five-play drives are a lot easier to score on than the 12-play drives.”

ON CHANGES IN PLAYCALLING FROM HIS DAYS IN OAKLAND BACK IN 2004: “One of the biggest things for me that I’m going to have to figure out here in the (exhibition) season is the ability to talk to the quarterback from the press box. That’s something that I know Kyle took advantage of a year ago. He went to the press box and he was still able to call plays to Matt from the press box which is a little foreign to me because during my time in Oakland when I was talking to Rich Gannon and Kerry Collins I had to be on the field to do that. Now, having that and not having had a game yet, that’s something that still unknown. That’s the biggest unknown. We do in practice. I have the walkie-talkie, but it’s a different vantage point. I’ve always called plays my entire career from the field. So, it will be a feeling out process in the (exhibition) season. I’m going to alternate games on the field and then in the press box just to see what is going to be the best case scenario for us, not only for Matt, but for myself and for us as an offense.”

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