Falcons Add Several More Assistants to Coaching Staff

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Ulbrich

Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reports that the Atlanta Falcons have added three coaches to the burgeoning staff of new head coach Dan Quinn. Steve Scarnecchia was hired as the assistant to the head coach, Matt LaFleur was named quarterbacks coach and former UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich was named linebackers coach. Earlier this week, Marvez also reported that former Seattle Seahawks assistant offensive line coach Chris Morgan would join the Falcons as offensive line coach. According to ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, the Falcons are expected to interview with former Seahawks assistant Marquand Manuel for their vacant defensive backs coach by the end of the week. ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports that Manuel is set to accept the job.

Scarnecchia earned infamy due to his involvement in the “Spygate” scandal, having worked in the New England Patriots’ video department from 2001 to 2004 during which they were accused of videotaping the walkthrough of the St. Louis Rams leading up to Super Bowl XXXVI. After leaving New England, he spent a year as an assistant video director at the University of Colorado in 2005, before becoming video direction for the New York Jets from 2006 to 2008. Scarnecchia went on to become video director of the Denver Broncos in 2009 under Josh McDaniels and was fired after being caught videotaping the walkthrough of the San Francisco 49ers during 2010. Scarnecchia became video coordinator at his alma mater, Syracuse University, in 2011 and was promoted to director of operations in 2013, where he managed the football program’s budget, travel, and coordinated other events. Scarnecchia’s father, Dante, spent 32 years as an assistant in the NFL including 23 years with the Patriots from 1991-2013, primarily coaching special teams and offensive linemen. In his current capacity, Scarnecchia will provide administrative help to Quinn.

LaFleur is the older brother of Mike, who was hired by the Falcons as an offensive assistant yesterday. LaFleur has worked with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan when the latter was an offensive coordinator in Houston (2008-09) and Washington (2010-13). LaFleur served as quarterbacks coach with the Redskins and offensive quality control with the Texans. LaFleur most recently served as quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame (2014). Prior to his jump to the NFL in 2008, LaFleur served as an assistant on the college level with multiple schools. He worked at his alma mater, Saginaw Valley State, as an offensive assistant in 2003. He moved onto Central Michigan as an offensive assistant from 2004-05 before taking over coaching quarterbacks and receivers at Northern Michigan in 2006. He was then hired as the offensive coordinator at Ashland University in 2007.

Ulbrich, 37, played ten seasons as a linebacker in the NFL with the 49ers from 2000-09, during which Quinn served as an assistant coach from 2001-04. Ulbrich then retired in 2009 due to a severe concussion and was hired by the Seattle Seahawks as a special teams assistant in 2010, where Quinn was also an assistant. He left to join Jim Mora’s staff at UCLA in 2012, first coaching linebackers and special teams. In 2014 he was promoted to defensive coordinator and led a unit that finished 65th in the nation in total defense. Ulbrich was a third-round pick out of Hawaii in 2000, earning first team All-WAC honors as a middle linebacker. Ulbrich finished his NFL career, starting 75 of 120 games, recording 488 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and six forced fumbles.

Morgan, 38, spent this past year with the Seahawks as an assistant offensive line coach under Tom Cable. Morgan played under Cable as an offensive lineman at Colorado from 1995 to 1999. Cable also gave Morgan his first break into coaching in 2003 as a graduate assistant when the former was head caoch at University of Idaho. When Cable then served as head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2009, Morgan once again joined him as an assistant offensive line coach. He then left in 2011 to coach alongside Shanahan with the Washington Redskins in 2011 in the same capacity. He served in that role for three years before re-joining Cable in Seattle.

Manuel, 35, is also a former NFL player, spending eight years (2002-09) as a journeyman safety with six different NFL teams. Manuel got into coaching in 2012 with the Seahawks as a special teams assistant before being promoted to defensive assistant in 2013. He was promoted to assistant secondary coach in 2014. Manuel was originally a sixth-round pick out of Florida by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2002. He was picked up by the Seahawks off waivers before the start of the 2004 season and then was signed by Green Bay Packers in 2006. He played for the Carolina Panthers in 2007, Denver Broncos in 2008 and finished his career with the Detroit Lions in 2009. Manuel started 58 of 116 games in his NFL career, and recorded 365 tackles, two interceptions and one sack during his career.

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Aaron Freeman
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