The Atlanta Falcons announced the beginnings of the new coaching staff under head coach Dan Quinn, who was introduced earlier this afternoon as the team’s 16th head coach in franchise history. While Quinn’s staff is far from complete, the team did clarify the roles of several coaches that he’ll retain from former head coach Mike Smith’s staff, as well as those that previous announcements have indicated are coming to Atlanta. The Falcons also announced that Bobby Turner would take over as the team’s running back coach, after rumors last week suggested the team might retain Gerald Brown. Mike LaFleur was added an offensive assistant.
Updating previous reports, Keith Armstrong (special teams coordinator), Bryan Cox (defensive line), Wade Harman (tight ends), Terry Robiskie (wide receivers) and Eric Sutulovich (assistant special teams) were all retained from Smith’s staff. Both Armstrong and Robiskie were original hires by the Falcons in 2008. Sutulovich joined the staff in 2009, while both Cox and Harman joined the club last season.
Kyle Shanahan is the Falcons new offensive coordinator and Richard Smith is the new defensive coordinator. Raheem Morris now has an official title: assistant head coach/defensive passing game coordinator.
Turner, 65, will reunite with Shanahan, having most recently worked with him for the Washington Redskins as running backs coach from 2010-13. During that time, he helped develop Alfred Morris. Prior to his stint with the Redskins, Turner famously coached the running backs of the Denver Broncos under Mike Shanahan from 1995-2008 and then under Josh McDaniels in 2009. Over 15 seasons with the Broncos, six different running backs produced 11 different 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Rookie running back Knoshown Moreno nearly became the seventh back to produce a 12th in 2009, when he finished the year with 947 rushing yards. Alongside Moreno, Turner also coached backs like Terrell Davis and Clinton Portis during his time in Denver. But over the course of the 19 seasons where Turner has served as running backs coach, his teams have finished ranked in the top 10 rushing 14 times.
Prior to joining the Broncos, Turner worked as an assistant on the college ranks. He was offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Purdue from 1991-94 and running backs coach at Ohio State in 1989 and 1990. There he coached future Minnesota Vikings star, Robert Smith. Turner previously coached running backs at Fresno State (1983-88) and was an assistant at his alma mater, Indiana State, from 1975 to 1982. At Indiana State, he served in multiple capacities, beginning as a running backs, quarterbacks and strength and conditioning coach (1975) before moving to defensive backs and strength and conditioning (1976-77). He then returned to coaching the running backs and special teams from 1978-81. His last year (1982) at Indiana State saw him coaching defensive backs and special teams.
Turner also coached on the high school ranks prior to taking the job at Indiana State, serving as an assistant on both the football and basketball teams at Haworth High in Kokomo, Indiana from 1972-74. Turner was an all-conference defensive back at Indiana State, where he also played basketball there.
LaFleur also is reuniting with Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta, having spent last season as a coaching intern with the Cleveland Browns. LaFleur was likely recommended to Shanahan by his brother, Matt, who worked with Shanahan in Houston as an offensive assistant (2008-09) and Washington as quarterbacks coach (2010-13) while Shanahan was offensive coordinator there. Matt currently works as the quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame.
Prior to joining the Browns, Mike LaFleur was the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at Davidson College in 2013. He was previously offensive coordinator at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana in 2011 and 2012 after a year as the school’s quarterbacks coach in 2010. LaFleur also served as recruiting coordinator at Saint Joseph’s. In 2009, LaFleur worked with quarterbacks as an offensive assistant at his alma mater, Elmhurst College. LaFleur played quarterback his first three years at Elmhurst, starting in seven games over that span before making the switch to free safety as a senior in 2008, and starting 10 games.