The Falcons have officially begun their search for a new offensive coordinator after parting ways with Steve Sarkisian. Dan Quinn wants to get this team back to the same level offensively they played under previous OC Kyle Shanahan. The problem was that they were running a different variation of Shanahan’s offense, but things never clicked under Sarkisian. So why not bring in someone who does run the same offense?
His name is Gary Kubiak, current Senior Personnel Advisor of the Denver Broncos. You likely remember Kubiak from his tenure as Houston Texans Head Coach (2006-2013) or his short stint as Broncos head coach (2015-2016) in which they won the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, health concerns cut his terrific head coaching career short, as it has taken a toll on him personally. But Kubiak may excel in a role with less pressure, and he has had great success as a coordinator in the past, in fact, it likely suits him better.
Kubiak got his start as the QB coach with the 49ers, serving under Kyle Shanahan’s father, Mike Shanahan. He helped Steve Young have an MVP season, and they later went on to win the Super Bowl. Kubiak then followed Shanahan to the Denver Broncos, where he would serve as their offensive coordinator under him for ten seasons. John Elway went on to win 2 Super Bowls in Kubiak’s offense.
While there are some differences in any two coaches’ playbook, Kubiak’s long tenure under Shanahan has turned him into a West Coast Offense wiz, and he has been doing it a lot longer than the younger Shanahan and with much more success. These two are cut from the same cloth, and if the Falcons ever plan to emulate the same results under that type of scheme, he should be their guy. They learned it all from the same man.
Gary Kubiak turned Arian Foster from a nobody into a superstar in this offense when he became the Houston Texans head coach. He never did anything life-changing during his time there but turned them into a playoff team and changed the culture of Texans football. Kubiak, along with his understudy Rick Dennison, even turned current Falcons backup Matt Schaub into a two-time pro bowler in his scheme.
Kubiak has only served as an offensive coordinator once in recent memory, with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014. That season, he showed how he can achieve success offensively despite the personnel. Kubiak came in and implemented his Zone Blocking Scheme and next thing you knew, a former backup of his in Houston, Justin Forsett, ran for 1266 yards and 8 touchdowns en route to a pro bowl nomination. Forsett was essentially a nobody, and when he left, he lasted just 13 more games with the franchise before being cut and, for the most part, never heard of again.
Under Kubiak, Joe Flacco had the best season of his career. He never reached that level of play again. The Ravens, like the Falcons, tried to bring in another mind for years to emulate his West Coast Offense, and to no avail, as they missed the playoffs every year since. It took a playmaker like Lamar Jackson to change the tone of the offense four years later.
That’s the point though. Gary Kubiak is just that good. It would not be bringing in another coach that wants to run the West Coast. It would be bringing in a guy who has mastered it and made it so prevalent in today’s game. With Kubiak’s past health concerns, he may be done on the sidelines. However, he reportedly has an itch to coach again, and perhaps for Atlanta:
Now official: Keep an eye on Gary Kubiak in Atlanta. One place he’d be interested if he came down from the front office. https://t.co/VVxwEa0pSY
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018
We went over the success Kubiak had in 2014 with a lackluster group of talent on offense. Now imagine the same results with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Devonta Freeman, who was born to run in Kubiak’s scheme. Oh wait, we have already seen these results under Kyle Shanahan. If the Falcons want to get back to that level, they know exactly who they should call.