Falcons’ Manuel Candidate in Jacksonville; Armstrong Likely Staying in Atlanta

Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKeith Armstrong works with Cliff Matthews (right)

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported yesterday that Atlanta Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel is a candidate to take over the vacant defensive coordinator position with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, the interview between the two parties is scheduled to be conducted this Tuesday.

Recent reports also indicate that another potential Falcons assistant in special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong is not expected to move on to greener pastures as an assistant with the New York Jets.

The Jaguars fired defensive coordinator Bob Babich earlier this week, who has coordinated the Jaguars defense since head coach Gus Bradley took over in 2013. Manuel would be rejoining BRadley in Jacksonville after the latter was the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator from 2010 to 2012.

Manuel, 35, served as an assistant special teams coach with the Seahawks in 2012. Manuel was then promoted to defensive assistant in 2013 when Falcons current head coach Dan Quinn took over Seattle’s coordinator duties. Manuel served as the Seahawks assistant secondary coach before joining the Falcons in 2015.

Manuel spent eight seasons playing in the NFL from 2002 and 2009 as a journeyman safety with six different teams. He was originally selected in the sixth round of the 2002 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He played with the Seattle Seahawks (2004-05), Green Bay Packers (2006), Carolina Panthers (2007), Denver Broncos (2008) and Detroit Lions (2009). He finished his career with 58 starts in 116 appearances, recording 365 tackles, two interceptions and one sack.

Armstrong, 52, has been sniffed around by the Jets since last year when Todd Bowles was hired as the team’s head coach. Then the Falcons blocked him from going to New York, and Newsday’s Kimberley Martin reports that the Falcons are likely to do the same again this year since Armstrong has two years left remaining on his contract.

Armstrong and Bowles were college teammates at Temple, making the reunion look like a stronger possibility when the Jets fired special teams coordinator Bobby April earlier this week.

Armstrong joined the Falcons in his current capacity in 2008 after spending several years in the same role with the Miami Dolphins. Armstrong also coached the special teams of the Chicago Bears (1997-2000). Since joining the Falcons, Armstrong’s special teams units have ranked in the top 10 according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric three times (2008, 2010 and 2014). This past year the unit ranked 22nd.



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Aaron Freeman
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