Archive for January, 2008

Falcons hire Boudreau to helm OL

January 31st, 2008 Comments off

The Falcons today announced the hiring of another assistant coach, this time adding Paul Boudreau as the new offensive line coach. Boudreau will work with Paul Dunn, who was hired yesterday to help improve the Falcons line.

Boudreau was dismissed by the St. Louis Rams this past month, having served two seasons as offensive line coach. He joined the Rams after a three-year stint in Jacksonville, where he worked with new head coach Mike Smith. Prior to working with the Jaguars, he headed the offensive line for the Carolina Panthers (2001-02), Miami Dolphins (1999-00), New England Patriots (1997-98), Detroit Lions (1994-96), New Orleans Saints (1987-93), and Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL (1983-86). Prior to that he worked nine year as an assistant on the collegiate level, coaching at Boston College (1974-75), Maine (1976-78), Dartmouth (1979-81), and Navy (1983).

During his 21 years as an NFL assistant, he has helped guide six different blockers to a total of 9 Pro Bowl seasons, including Lomas Brown and Kevin Glover with the Lions, Brad Edelman and Joel Hilgenberg with the Saints, Bruce Armstrong with the Patriots, and Tim Ruddy with the Dolphins. Three times during that span, quarterbacks playing behind his lines have been the least sacked quarterbacks in the league: Dan Marino (1999), Bobby Hebert (1992), and Steve Walsh (1991).

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Two more assistants added to coaching staff

January 30th, 2008 Comments off

The team announced the hiring of Chris Scelfo and Paul Dunn today. Scelfo will coach tight ends while Dunn will be the assistant offensive line coach. For both men, this will be their first ventures in the NFL as coaches. The team has yet to name the offensive line coach who will be working with Dunn. That along with who will be in charge of linebackers represent the two major vacancies still remaining on head coach Mike Smith’s staff. The team may also seek to hire an additional secondary coach, since it has to be determined if assistant head coach Emmitt Thomas will retain those duties.

Scelfo most recently was head coach at Tulane, where he led the Green Wave for eight seasons, where they compiled a 37-57 record. He led them to victories in both their bowl appearances. Prior to his time at Tulane, he was the assistant head coach and offensive line coach at George from 1996 to 1998. Before that he was an assistant at Marshall (1990-95). He originally served as offensive line coach at Marshall, but added offensive coordinator duties in 1993. He was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma for two years (1988-89) working with wide receivers and the offensive line. His first coaching gig came in 1986 at Northeastern Louisiana as a graduate assistant. He worked with the offensive line and tight ends for two seasons.

Dunn this past January was fired after three season as the offensive line coach at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to that, he worked as run game coordinator and offensive line coach at Kentucky for two years (2003-04). He also served in those same duties at Kansas State (1998-02). Before that he worked as an offensive line coach at several programs, including Vanderbilt (1996-97), Cincinnati (1994-95), Maine (1990-93), Rutgers (1989), and Edinboro University (1986-88). Before that he served as a graduate assistant at Penn State (1984-85) and Pittsburgh (1983).

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Falcons add more assistants

January 29th, 2008 Comments off

The Falcons added a few more names to their coaching staff, announcing today the hiring of three more assistant coaches. Joining new head coach Mike Smith’s staff will be special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, strength and conditioning coach Jeff Fish, and his assistant will be Bill Hughan. The team also announced that Tom McMahon would stay on staff as assistant special teams coach and formally announced that Bill Musgrave has been retained as quarterbacks coach.

Armstrong rejoins the Falcons, having served as safeties (1994-95) and secondary coach (1996) before. He left the Falcons to become special teams coach of the Bears in 1997. He joined the Dolphins coaching staff in the same capacity in 2001 and has been there ever since, where he gained experience working with new offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey the past two seasons. Prior to his stint in Atlanta, Armstrong worked at six different collegiate schools over a seven-year period, including Notre Dame (1993) as linebackers coach, Oklahoma State (1990-92) as secondary coach, Akron (1989) as receivers coach, University of Miami (FL) (1988) as defensive backs and special teams coach, and at Temple (1987) his alma mater as a graduate assistant.

Fish is the fourth strength and conditioning coach for the Falcons in four years. He joins the team from the Oakland Raiders where spent the past four seasons in charge of their strength and conditioning department. Prior to that, he spent two seasons (2001-02) working at the University of Missouri in the same capacity. His previous NFL experience came working with the Kansas Chiefs for three years, first as an intern in 1998, and then becoming their assistant strength and conditioning coach in 1999. In 1997, he was an intern in the strength and conditioning department of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prior to that he was strength and conditioning coach at Tulsa (1995-96) and Kent State (1993-94), and the assistant at Clemson (1991-92) and Western Michigan (1989). Fish played wide receiver at Western Carolina where he graduated in 1988.

Hughan has worked with Fish on each of his last two coaching stops, as an assistant with both the Raiders (2004-07) and at Missouri (2001-03). Prior to that he was a graduate assistant at Columbia (1999-00) and Yale (1997-98).

McMahon will enter his second year with the Falcons in his current capacity, having joined the team a year ago from Louisville.

Musgrave enters his third year with the team in his current capacity. Musgrave worked with Smith in 2003 and 2004 when he coordinated the Jacksonville Jaguars offense.

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Falcons add three more assistants

January 27th, 2008 Comments off

On Saturday, the Falcons named three more assistants to new head coach Mike Smith’s coaching staff. The team added Ray Hamilton as defensive line coach, Gerald Brown as running backs coach, and Glenn Thomas in offensive quality control.

Hamilton has extensive experience coaching some of the best and brightest defensive lineman over the years. He most recently finished his fifth season as the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach. He finished a nine-year playing career with the New England Patriots in 1981. During his career, he started 117 games at nose tackle and finished his career with 54 sacks. He got into coaching as an assistant defensive line coach with the Patriots in 1985. He also coached defensive lines for Tampa Bay (1991), University of Tennessee (1992), Los Angeles Raiders (1993-94), New York Jets (1995-96, 2000), New England (1997-99), and Cleveland (2001-02). Under him, he has produced a total of six Pro Bowl seasons between three different players: John Henderson, Marcus Stroud, and Chester McGlockton. He has also had a hand in the development of top linemen such as current Falcon John Abraham, Hugh Douglas, Shaun Ellis, Willie McGinest, and Eric Swann. And has coached some of the greats including Howie Long, Greg Townsend, and Dexter Manley.

Brown comes to the Falcons from Indiana Univesity, where this past season he was promoted to assistant head coach, adding to his duties as running backs coach and special teams coordinator. He has been at Indiana since 2002. His sole foray into professional coaching came in 2001, where he was the running backs coach for the Memphis Maniax of the XFL. Prior to that he worked ten years at Tennessee Tech (1989-98) and six years at Tennessee (1983-88). While at Tennessee Tech, he worked with new Falcons head coach Mike Smith, and was in charge of quarterbacks, wide receivers, and special teams at various times during that stint.

Thomas got his start in coaching in 2001 as the receivers coach for Midwestern State, a Division II school. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2004. In 2006, Midwestern State had the top-ranked offense in Division II, compiling 470 yards per game and placing second with 40 points per game.

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Senior Bowl interest heats up

January 26th, 2008 Comments off

During their annual Senior Bowl coverage, also tracks which NFL teams show particular interest in certain players during the course of the week. Teams conduct formal and informal interviews with players during the day. Here are the players that has reported that the Falcons have shown interest in, and the date of the report:

Jan. 21: QB Joe Flacco, Delaware
Jan. 22: QB Erik Ainge, Tennessee; QB Colt Brennan, Hawaii; RB Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech; TE Fred Davis, USC; RB Matt Forte, Tulane; DT DeMario Pressley, N.C. State; RB Dantrell Savage, Oklahoma State; OT Chris Williams, Vanderbilt
Jan. 23: DE Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech; RB Justin Forsett, California; QB Chad Henne, Michigan; OT Barry Richardson, Clemson; TE Martin Rucker, Missouri
Jan. 24: K Brandon Coutu, Georgia; CB Terrell Thomas, USC; RB Chauncey Washington, USC; LB Wesley Woodyard, Kentucky

NFL Draft Countdown also lists several players the Falcons spoke to or were looking at during the week:

Jan. 22: WR Harry Douglas, Louisville; RB Rafael Little, Kentucky; C John Sullivan, Notre Dame
Jan. 23: S Thomas DeCoud, California; DE Bryan Mattison, Iowa; OT Chad Rinehart, Northern Iowa; TE Jacob Tamme, Kentucky

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Falcons hire Robiskie

January 26th, 2008 Comments off

On the cuffs of naming Mike Mularkey their offensive coordinator, the Falcons have made one more addition to the coaching staff in hiring Terry Robiskie as wide receivers coach. Robiskie has over twenty years of experience as an NFL coach, and served as an interim head coach twice in his career, coaching a total of eight games with the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns. He has compiled a 2-6 record in an interim role.

Robiskie’s most recent work came as a receivers coach with the Miami Dolphins this past year, where he worked with Mularkey. Prior to that he was with the Cleveland Browns. He worked as the Browns receivers coach from 2001-03 and 2005-06. He also was their offensive coordinator in 2004, and finished the final five games of that season as interim head coach, taking over for Butch Davis. Prior to his stint in Cleveland, he was the passing game coordinator for the Washington Redskins for 2 years, during which he worked three game as their interim head coach, taking over for Norv Turner in 2000. Prior to that he worked 16 years as an assistant with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders. He began in 1982 as an assistant special teams coach, before moving on to assistant running backs in 1985, followed by tight ends coach in 1988, offensive coordinator in 1989, and finally wide receivers coach in 1994.

Robiskie began coaching after a five year playing career at running back. He spent three years with the Oakland Raiders (1977-79) and two with the Miami Dolphins (1980-81), where he also played fullback. He finished his career with 553 rushing yards on 159 carries (3.5 avg) and 5 touchdowns. He also caught 23 passes for 147 yards (6.4 avg). He was originally an 8th round pick by the Raiders in 1977 out of LSU.

During Robiskie’s career, he has worked with a number of quality young receivers including Tim Brown, Michael Westbrook, Braylon Edwards, and Ted Ginn. And now will be tasked with getting even more contributions out of Michael Jenkins, Roddy White, and Laurent Robinson. Both Jenkins and White are coming off years where they had career highs in both receptions and receiving yards. Robinson is also coming off a season where he had the highest number of receptions and receiving yards for a rookie since Bert Emanuel in 1994.

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Mularkey expected to take Falcons job

January 25th, 2008 Comments off

By reason of deduction due to the expectation that former St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Greg Olson will take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks coach position, it is reasonable to expect that former Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Mike Mularkey will accept the Falcons offensive coordinator spot. It was previously reported that Mularkey was opting between taking that position with the Buccaneers or the one in Atlanta. An announcement could be made today. The Falcons met with Mularkey yesterday.

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Thomas and Musgrave remain; Mularkey targeted

January 24th, 2008 Comments off

During his introductory press conference, new Falcons head coach Mike Smith announced that former interim head man Emmitt Thomas would remain on the Falcons staff as assistant head coach. Thomas was recently blocked from interviewing with the Dallas Cowboys, and is one of a few assistants expected to be retained by Smith. According to the AJC, quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave will also remain in that same capacity. Musgrave worked with Smith in Jacksonville in 2003 and 2004 where he served as offensive coordinator.

Updating previous reports, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the Falcons were scheduled to meet with Mike Mularkey today, and announcement could come as early as tomorrow on whether he has accepted their offer to become the team’s next offensive coordinator. Ledbetter cited a person within the organization as the source of this information, and that Mularkey is the team’s first choice. Mularkey is also being wooed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to accept a quarterbacks coach position there.

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VanGorder to return to Falcons

January 24th, 2008 Comments off

Steve Wyche of the AJC reports that the Falcons are in negotiations for former Falcons linebacker coach Brian VanGorder to return to the team in the role of defensive coordinator. VanGorder had decided to join South Carolina as their defensive coordinator a month ago, shortly after the retirement of head coach Bobby Petrino. But due to the hiring of Mike Smith as Petrino’s replacement, VanGorder has opted to return to the NFL.

VanGorder and Smith worked together for a season in Jacksonville (2005), where VanGorder served as linebackers coach. VanGorder then moved on to become head coach at Georgia Southern in 2006, before accepting the spot with the Falcons this past year. Prior to his stint in Jacksonville, VanGorder was the defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia for four years.

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Mike Smith it is!

January 24th, 2008 1 comment

I’m sure you’ve been patiently waiting for my assessment of the Mike Smith hire, well here it is…

I’m fine with it. I’m not blown away, nor will I be crying myself to sleep tonight. It’s a really even keel move if you ask me.

I see this guy as a John Fox clone. From everything I’ve read and seen about him, he seems very “Fox-esque.” And it’s interesting to note that before the season ended, people speculated that the Falcons would jump all over Fox if the Panthers had fired him (some suggesting the reason he wasn’t let go for that very reason).

John F-err, Mike Smith comes off as a very conservative coach. Which I’m sure is going to absolutely thrill Falcon fans (that’s sarcasm). If the Falcons acquire the personnel that fits that scheme, I’m sure he’ll do well. If not, then three years from now we’ll be looking for someone else. So all those people that are praying the Falcons draft Darren McFadden with their No. 1 pick this year, with this hire we seem to be one step closer to that.

I’m sure most are aware of Marcellus Wiley’s comments on ESPN on Wednesday. Not reading too much into them. That’s one person’s assessment of Smith. From everything else I’ve read from the mouths of players, that viewpoint seems to be in the minority.

Reports say that he might bring in Mike Mularkey as the offensive coordinator. I guess that’ll end Alge Crumpler’s tenure in Atlanta. Or maybe Smith will hire his brother-in-law Brian Billick. So perhaps Steve McNair will be our opening day starter in 2008. The speculation could be endless now.

It’s definitely going to be a process, and I’ll take a wait and see approach.

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