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Lions rumors: Steve Sarkisian, Nate Hackett in the mix for Lions OC job

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Two candidates have emerged for the Lions OC job.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

It appears there are finally some substantial rumors regarding the Detroit Lions’ offensive coordinator position. Alex Marvez of SportingNews.com is reporting that there are two candidates in the mix for the coaching opening. According to Marvez, both former Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and former Jaguars offensive coordinator Nate Hackett are candidates.

Sarkisian was fired after the end of the season, as the Falcons purged all three coordinators following a disappointing 7-9 season. The Falcons offense certainly took a step back—especially after Kyle Shanahan took the San Francisco 49ers head coaching job in 2017.

However, the tanking of the Falcons’ offense is largely overstated. In 2018, the Falcons still ranked 10th in points per game and eighth in offensive DVOA. Falcons fans complained about poor red zone efficiency, but Atlanta ranked 14th in points per red zone trip according to Football Outsiders.

Hackett had been the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator since 2016, but was relieved of his duties following a 24-21 loss to the Bills in late November. Hackett got a ton of praise in 2017, as the Jaguars offense nicely complemented Jacksonville’s stingy defense to help get the team to the AFC Championship. Hackett’s 2017 offense was defined by Jacksonville’s ability to run the ball, averaging a league-high 141.4 rushing yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry (t-seventh).

This would fall in line with some of the things both general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia have been saying over the past couple weeks.

“Most of the teams that win in the playoffs are teams that run the ball and win the big games in the end,” Patricia said last week. “I have been on good sides and bad sides of both of that. And teams that can run the ball, stop the run, control the game towards the end of the season are really, I think, the teams that will have the most chance to win.”

We’ll see if either of these candidates stick, as the Lions continue to search for their replacement for Jim Bob Cooter.