Posts Tagged ‘coaches’

Falcons Set to Interview Bryan Cox for DL coach

January 9th, 2014 Comments off

Vaughn McClure of ESPN cites a source that the Atlanta Falcons are set to interview Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass rush specialist assistant coach Bryan Cox for their vacant defensive line coach position. The Falcons dismissed defensive line coach Ray Hamilton at the end of the 2013 season.

Cox has previous experience working with Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, both as a player and an assistant. Cox played under Nolan in 2000, when both were with the New York Jets, the former as a linebacker and the latter as defensive coordinator. They then hooked up again in 2011 with the Miami Dolphins, this time with Cox serving as the pass rush specialist under Nolan.

Cox played 12 seasons in the NFL after being a fifth round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 1991. Cox played five seasons with the Dolphins, earning three trips to the Pro Bowl during that time. He then joined the Chicago Bears (1996-97), Jets (1998-00), New England Patriots (2001), and New Orleans Saints (2002) before calling it quits. Cox spent the bulk of his career playing middle linebacker and earned a Super Bowl in 2001 with the Patriots.

Soon after his departure from the league as a player, Cox found himself as an assistant coach, beginning with the Jets in 2006 as defensive line coach under head coach Eric Mangini. In 2009, he followed Mangini to Cleveland where he served in the same capacity. After Mangini’s dismissal in 2011, Cox left Cleveland to join Nolan in Miami. Then in 2012, he was hired by Greg Schiano to become the pass rush specialist coach with the Buccaneers.

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Why Hiring of Mike Tice Isn’t As Bad as You May Think

January 9th, 2014 Comments off
Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Mike Tice

I’ve heard quite a bit of mixed opinion on the Atlanta Falcons decision to hire Mike Tice as their new offensive line coach and I believe most of the negativity towards Tice is undeserved.

Much of the negativity stems from Tice’s recent stint as position coach of an abysmal Chicago Bears offensive line from 2010-11. That is understandable. Over the course of those two seasons, the Bears certainly were well-deserved of the reputation of the league’s worst offensive line. They gave up the most sacks in those two seasons, topping out at 105 combined sacks allowed.

But I don’t think it’s quite fair to attribute that solely on Tice. I think most of that lack of success in Chicago can be directly attributed to then offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

My point here isn’t to say that Tice isn’t blameless in the struggles of the Bears offensive line, but there is compelling evidence that suggests the Bears struggles to protect Jay Cutler over those two seasons had more to do with Martz than Tice’s inability to teach.

That evidence is that leading the NFL in sacks allowed was a regular achievement of Martz-coordinated offenses. Here are the numbers:

Mike Martz Offenses (Sacks Allowed)

Shows the number of sacks allowed by teams when they were coordinated by Martz (on left) and the number of sacks allowed by team after Martz's departure from team (on right), with combined league rankings over the course of those years.
Per Yr.
Per Yr.

Read more…

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Falcons Hire Mike Tice to Coach OL

January 8th, 2014 Comments off
Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Mike Tice

This morning the Atlanta Falcons confirmed what was first rumored by ESPN’s Vaughn McClure and reported by Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post last night, that the team has hired Mike Tice to coach their offensive line. Tice is known for his emphasis on toughness, likely meeting the desires expressed by Falcons owner Arthur Blank earlier this week about adding that element back to the team.

Tice was out of football this past year after spending several seasons coaching the offensive line of the Chicago Bears. His last year there in 2012, he served as the team’s offensive coordinator. That year, he was able to maintain the Bears success running the football, as they posted a top 10 ranking in rushing yards, similar to what they did the year prior. Before being named offensive coordinator, Tice spent two seasons coaching the Bears offensive line. No NFL team gave up more sacks in those two seasons than the Bears, as the team combined for 105 sacks allowed from 2010-11. But in the year where Tice was calling the plays and had direct control over the protection schemes, that number was reduced to 44 sacks, which ranked 25th in the league.

Prior to joining the Bears, Tice worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars for four years, including two in which he was on the same staff as Falcons head coach Mike Smith. Tice first joined the Jaguars in 2006, where he served as assistant head coach and offensive assistant, before adding duties of coaching the team’s tight ends in 2007.

Tice landed in Jacksonville after four years as the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach, where he compiled a 32-32 record. His first chance to become the head coach of that team came in 2001, where he was the team’s interim head coach after the dismissal of Dennis Green. The team lost the lone game in which he coached that season. Tice was promoted to interim coach after being the team’s offensive line coach for five seasons. During that time, Tice tutored five Vikings starters that earned Pro Bowl bids, including firsts for centers Matt Birk and Jeff Christy, and tackles Todd Steussie and Korey Stringer. Tice was first hired by the Vikings in 1996 to coach their tight ends after playing three seasons with the team at that position.

Tice’s NFL career began in 1981 with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland, where he played quarterback. He played for the Seahawks until 1988, and again from 1990-91 before joining the Vikings in 1992. He sat out of football in 1994 before playing one last year with the Vikings in 1995. He also played briefly for the Washington Redskins in 1989. During the course of his NFL career, Tice played in 117 games, starting 110 of them, and caught 107 passes for 894 yards and 11 touchdowns.

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Falcons Denied Permission to Interview Vikings OL Coach

January 2nd, 2014 3 comments

Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reports that the Atlanta Falcons were denied permission by the Minnesota Vikings to interview Jeff Davidson for the former team’s vacant offensive line coach position. The Falcons dismissed their two offensive line coaches earlier this week. Davidson has served as the Vikings offensive line coach since 2011.

Davidson is familiar to the Falcons, having served as the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers prior to his arrival in Minnesota. He served in that capacity in Carolina under head coach John Fox for four seasons (2007-10), but joined the Vikings after Fox’s dismissal in 2011. Prior to becoming the Panthers offensive coordinator, he served that role with the Cleveland Browns in 2006. He replaced Maurice Carthon midway through that season. Prior to that, he coached the Browns offensive line since 2005. Davidson’s previous experience was with the New England Patriots (1997-2004) as tight ends and offensive line coach and the New Orleans Saints (1995-96) as an offensive assistant.

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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 53 “Harry Douglas Ruins Dreams”

December 31st, 2013 Comments off

Allen and I are joined by another Falcoholic contributor, the ever-optimistic Jeanna Thomas, to discuss the Atlanta Falcons last two games of the year against the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers in Weeks 16 and 17. Topics we hit include the battle between Steven Jackson and Donte Whitner, the problems that plague the offensive line, the refusal to play Antone Smith, and the outlook of some young players: Peter Konz, Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford. We also discuss how injury will affect the future of Corey Peters, as well as the possibility that the team’s good intentions sabotaged Tony Gonzalez’s final game. We end the show discussing some of the things we saw around the league in Week 17, as I gloat over Allen about the Eagles win over the Cowboys. We each give our predictions about which teams could emerge in the first round of the playoffs to make a legit run at the Super Bowl in February.

Episode53-Harry Douglas Ruins Dreams [Download]
Duration: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Allen writes for as well as the Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Jeanna writes for The Falcoholic and can be found on twitter: @jeannathomas.

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Falcons Dismiss Three Assistant Line Coaches

December 31st, 2013 Comments off

The Atlanta Falcons announced yesterday that three assistant coaches will not return in 2014: offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn, and defensive line coach Ray Hamilton.

Hill was hired by the team in 2012 after the team dismissed offensive line coach Paul Boudreau. Prior to his arrival in Atlanta, Hill was last an offensive line coach when he served as an assistant with the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. Between 1997-2011, he was a successful head coach at Fresno State, where he compiled a 112-80 record with 11 bowl appearances.

Dunn was hired by the team in 2008 as an assistant offensive line coach, and promoted to share duties with Hill in 2012 after the Boudreau’s departure. Before his hiring in Atlanta, Dunn served as an assistant coach for 15 years on the college ranks.

Hamilton was also a 2008 hire, brought over by Smith from Jacksonville where he served five years as the defensive line coach of the Jaguars. Hamilton, a former NFL player that played nine seasons as a nose tackle with the New England Patriots from 1973-81, followed up his playing career in 1985 as an assistant coach with the Patriots. He spent the remaining years mostly as a defensive line coach with multiple teams having coached a number of top defensive linemen over the years including John Abraham, Hugh Douglas, Shaun Ellis, John Henderson, Howie Long, Willie McGinest, Eric Swann, and Greg Townsend.

The Falcons are expected to hire their replacements in the coming weeks.

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Mike Nolan to Return to Falcons With Extension

December 30th, 2013 Comments off

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Mike Nolan

Last night, FOX Sports Insider Jay Glazer reported that Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s contract would be extended, indicating that he would return to the Falcons for at least one more season. This morning, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reported that Nolan’s extension is for two more years per his agent. Nolan’s contract was set to expire after the 2013 season.

Nolan is a well-respected defensive mind coming off his second season serving as the defensive coordinator of the Falcons. However, he has yet to achieve great success here in Atlanta. The Falcons defense finished 27th in both total and scoring defense in 2013. That follows a year in which the team managed to finish fifth in scoring defense based off points allowed, but 24th in total defense based off yards allowed. The Falcons have struggled to stop the run under Nolan, ranking 31st this past year in rushing yards allowed, after a 2012 season that saw the team ranked 24th.

Respect for Nolan stems from his stints prior to his arrival in Atlanta. The last time he coached a defense that finished in the top 10 in both scoring and total defense was in 2004 when he was the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. He was able to catapult that success to become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 2005. There, he compiled an 18-37 record over four seasons thanks in part to defenses that were typically ranked near the bottom of league. In 2009, he became the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos, helping that team rank seventh and 12th in total and scoring defense, respectively. In 2010, he joined the Miami Dolphins staff as defensive coordinator where they finished in the top 15 in both categories in each season. Prior to his promotion to the Ravens defensive coordinator in 2002, Nolan had served as a defensive coordinator with three teams over eight seasons: New York Jets (2000), Washington Redskins (1997-99), and New York Giants (1993-96).

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Boise State Finds Coach and It’s Not Dirk Koetter

December 11th, 2013 Comments off

Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports tweets that Boise State University is expected to hire Bryan Harsin as it’s next head coach. Harsin was a candidate for the vacant position, alongside current Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Both Harsin and Koetter interviewed for the position this past Monday, and reports surfaced that talks between Koetter and the school were heating up after he conducted a second interview with officials on Tuesday.

Harsin is a former assistant with Boise State, who served as their offensive coordinator from 2006-10, before joining the staff at the University of Texas where he shared play-calling duties with Major Applewhite for two seasons. He then was hired last year to become the head coach at Arkansas State, posting a 7-5 record as that team is set to play Ball State in the Bowl in January.

Koetter was formerly the head coach at Boise State for three seasons, posting a 26-10 record from 1998-00. He then became the head coach at Arizona State, where he compiled a 40-34 record before joining the ranks of NFL assistant coaches when he accepted the offensive coordinator position with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2007. He served in that role for five seasons before being hired by the Falcons in 2012.

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Koetter to Interview for Boise State Job

December 9th, 2013 Comments off

Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman reports that Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will be interviewed by Boise State University officials today for that school’s vacant head coaching position. The job came open this past week, when long-time Boise State head coach Chris Petersen accepted the head coaching position at the University of Washington. Per Cripe, Koetter’s interview will be conducted via phone due to travel issues as the Falcons prep for their upcoming matchup against the Washington Redskins this week.

Koetter previously was the head coach at Boise State, and can be credited with starting the success that the school’s football program has seen over the past sixteen seasons with a 171-33 record and a 12 consecutive bowl appearances. Koetter’s Bronco teams went 26-10 over three seasons (1998-00) before landing the head coaching position at Arizona State in 2001. There he compiled a 40-34 record over six seasons before joining the Jacksonville Jaguars as offensive coordinator in 2007. He became the Falcons offensive coordinator in 2012 and saw immediate success in Atlanta. However, this year he has faced much scrutiny over the team’s offensive struggles.

Koetter was a candidate for multiple vacant head coaching jobs last season thanks to his initial success with the Falcons.

Cripe suggests that Boise State will move quickly to replace Petersen, suggesting that we will know quickly whether Koetter will remain the Falcons offensive coordinator or move on.

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Takeaways from Week 12

November 25th, 2013 Comments off
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Dimitroff Will Face Greater Scrutiny in 2014

Last week, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank gave head coach Mike Smith a vote of confidence. That was followed up on Thursday, with further elaboration that Blank fully intends to bring Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff back for 2014. Then later on Thursday, the Falcons played their best game since Week 7.

Maybe, Blank should have backed Smith a month ago.

Blank indicated in Silver’s report that regardless of how the Falcons finish this year, the Terrible Twosome in Smith and Dimitroff will be back. I guess that nips my belief that if the Falcons were to finish 2-14 or 3-13 that Smith would be fired. Although never say never. The Falcons could revert back to getting blown out for the final five games, and I think Blank would have to strongly consider making a change.

But truth be told, I don’t want the Falcons to blow things up. Or at least, I don’t want to feel like the Falcons have to blow things up.

What is most concerning about Blank’s comments is that it may lead to this team not making major changes to their “process.”

For the most part over the years, I have backed the so-called “process.” But the problem with the Falcons process is that it represents very little progress.

Complacency, more so than Injuries are Falcons Downfall

The story of this season will center on injuries and complacency. This team has obviously suffered a number of injuries which have limited their ability to field a competitive team. My personal opinion is that the amount of injuries doesn’t explain how uncompetitive this team has been since the bye week, but I’m sure that is going to be what the Falcons chalk their struggles up to this off-season.

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