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VanGorder departs for Auburn

January 9th, 2012 Comments off
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Brian VanGorder

Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder stepped down as the team’s defensive coordinator to take the same position at Auburn University. VanGorder has been the Falcons defensive coordinator since 2008, after initially accepting the defensive coordinator job at South Carolina after the departure of Bobby Petrino. But Smith was able to convince VanGorder to return to the Falcons.

Prior to joining the Falcons in 2007, VanGorder spent one year was the head coach at Georgia Southern. He spent a year as an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2005) after four years as the defensive coordinator at Georgia.

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Mularkey to interview with Dolphins

January 7th, 2012 Comments off

NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora tweets that the Falcons have granted the Miami Dolphins permission to interview offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for their vacant head coaching job. The Dolphins are the fourth team to be reported to be interested in Mularkey, as previous reports indicate that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs also have interest. Mularkey has already been granted an interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

 

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Mularkey on Bucs and Chiefs’ radars

January 6th, 2012 Comments off

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times and Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports report that Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is drawing interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively, for their vacant head coaching positions. Mularkey has already interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the same gig there, and some sources indicate he will be the top candidate for that position.

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Jaguars to interview Mularkey

January 2nd, 2012 Comments off

Jason La Canfora of NFL.com reports that the Jacksonville Jaguars have requested permission from the Falcons  to interview offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. According to reports, Mularkey is highly thought of by the Jaguars organization including current general manager Gene Smith. The Jaguars fired their head coach Jack Del Rio on November 29, the same day that it was announced that Shahid Khan had bought the team from owner Wayne Weaver.

Mularkey’s son, Patrick, is currently a scout for Jacksonville. Last off-season, Mularkey interviewed with both the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns for their vacant head coaching positions, and also declined an interview with the Denver Broncos.

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Falcons Weekly Round-Up 6/10

June 10th, 2011 Comments off

Recapping news and headlines involving the Falcons from the week of June 5…

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Apple iPad

Falcons ahead on technology curve

Dan Pompei of the National Football Post writes that the Falcons are among a few teams that are now using iPads instead of conventional means of paper. He mentions Falcons head coach Mike Smith was seen using an iPad during the team’s pre-draft interviews that including a checklist of questions for each paper. Pompei also mentions that the Baltimore Ravens are giving their players their playbooks on iPads. (Source: Dan Pompei, National Football Post)

NCAA avoiding scheduling issues

A scheduling conflict between the Falcons and Georgia State has been resolved.  Both teams play their home games in the Georgia Dome. Originally, the Georgia State Panthers had claimed the September 1 date back in February, hosting their season opener against Clark Atlanta, another local school. But when the NFL announced their schedules in April, the date was used for the Falcon’s final preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. But the matter has been cleared up with the Falcons holding the September 1 date, and the Panthers moving their game to September 2. Georgia State begins its second season for their new football program, having gone 6-5 in its inaugural season. (Source: Georgia State Sports)

There was no such scheduling conflict from other college football entities, when the BCS tentative scheduled secondary dates for the Sugar Bowl and BCS Championship Game in January due to the NFL lockout. The Falcons face the Saints in the Superdome on December 26 (a Monday Night), according to the current NFL schedule in Week 16. But it’s possible that games could be pushed back a week or two to avoid missing games. So the Sugar Bowl, which is tentatively scheduled for either Monday, January 2 or Tuesday, January 3. The title game is currently slate for Monday, January 9, but could be moved up to Saturday, January 7 or back to Tuesday, January 10 to get around. (Source: Brett Martel, Associated Press)

VanGorder among up and coming assistants

Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder makes Pete Prisco’s list of ten assistant coaches that could be strong candidates to have head coaching jobs come 2012. Writes Prisco:

The Falcons made some nice strides on defense last season. They went from 14th in points in 2009 to fifth last season. VanGorder is a big reason why. He makes the defensive calls, even though coach Mike Smith is a defense-oriented head coach. VanGorder brings a high-energy level to his style of coaching. He is loud, passionate and can be heard from across the practice field. If the Falcons can continue to improve on defense, and they make a Super Bowl run, VanGorder will get a look next year. He was a college head coach at Georgia Southern for a year, which will help.

Prisco also lists three former Falcons assistants, including Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis, who served in that same capacity for the Falcons from 1998 to 2006; Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who spent the last four seasons as the Falcons quarterback coach before taking the offer from Minnesota earlier this off-season; and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who was the Falcons defensive coordinator prior to VanGorder in 2007. (Source: Pete Prisco, CBS Sports)

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Bratkowski agrees to take over as QB coach

February 13th, 2011 Comments off

The team announced late Friday night that former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski had agreed to become the Falcons new quarterbacks coach, replacing Bill Musgrave, who took over as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator last month.

Bratkowski, 55, spent ten seasons as the Bengals offensive coordinator, first joining the team in 2001. Prior to that he spent time as the wide receivers coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he shared time with current Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, who was then the Steelers tight ends coach. Prior to his stint in Pittsburgh, he was the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks for four seasons under Dennis Erickson, after three seasons as the receivers coach. Prior to that, he was an assistant at several colleges, serving as an offensive coordinator for the entirety of the 80s. Most prominently he served for three years at the University of Miami (1989-91), where he was part of two national championship teams under Erickson.

His father, Zeke, was an All-American quarterback at the University of Georgia before spending 15 seasons in the NFL, most notably as the backup to Bart Starr on the Vince Lombardi-led Packers of the 1960s.

Despite having little experience as a position coach for quarterbacks, his knowledge of Mularkey’s offense and stint tutoring Carson Palmer for the past 8 years in Cincinnati should allow him to help Matt Ryan, who is coming off a career year in 2010.

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Smitty gets 3-year extension

February 3rd, 2011 2 comments
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Mike Smith

Jay Adams of Atlanta Falcons.com reports that the team has announced a three-year extension signed by Falcons head coach Mike Smith.

Smith was entering the last year on the original four-year deal he signed with the Falcons when they hired him prior to the 2008 season. In three years as the Falcons head coach, he has compiled a 33-15 record, with two playoff appearances and a division crown. A year ago, he became the first coach in the team’s 44-year history to record back to back winning seasons. And with last year’s 13-3 mark, he has extended that streak from two to three seasons. He is 17 wins away from passing Dan Reeves as the winningest coach in franchise history. Now he will have three more years to achieve such a mark.

The Falcons have been actively working to get general manager Thomas Dimitroff an extension as well according to reports.

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Mularkey of interest to Titans

February 2nd, 2011 Comments off

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that the Tennessee Titans have been granted permission to interview Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for their vacant head coaching position.

Mularkey interviewed last month for the Cleveland Browns gig, and was also on the Denver Broncos’ radar before declining to interview. The Falcons have already lost quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave to the Minnesota Vikings, and have yet to hire his replacement. Losing Mularkey to the Titans could be a huge loss for the Falcon offense.

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Musgrave joins Vikings

January 19th, 2011 Comments off

Falcons quarterback coach Bill Musgrave joined the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff as the team’s new offensive coordinator.

Musgrave was believed to have the inside track to the same position with the Cleveland Browns, but opted to join the Vikings under new head coach Leslie Frazier. Musgrave joined the Falcons as quarterbacks coach in 2006, and added assistant head coach to his title last season.

According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC, a potential candidate to replace Musgrave as quarterbacks coach is Jeff Jagodzinski. Jagodzinski was an assistant coach, working with the offensive linemen on the Falcons staff in 2004-05, before joining the Green Bay Packers in 2006 as offensive coordinator. He then became head coach at Boston College in 2007, where he coached Matt Ryan. He was fired by Boston College after the 2008 season, spent the 2009 off-season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator before being fired prior to the start of the regular season. And then coached the Omaha Nighthawks in the United Football League this past year before being fired earlier this month.

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Musgrave in demand

January 18th, 2011 Comments off

Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that Falcons quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach Bill Musgrave is set to interview for vacant offensive coordinator positions with three teams: St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings, and the Cleveland Browns.

Per Mortensen, Musgrave is set to interview with the Browns today and the Vikings tomorrow. Musgrave has twice been an offensive coordinator at the NFL level, working in that role for the first four games of the 2000 season with the Carolina Panthers, as well as two years (2003-04) in Jacksonville. Musgrave also called plays for two seasons (2001-02) at the University of Virginia. He joined the Falcons staff as quarterbacks coach in 2006. He added assistant head coach to his title last season.

Per the ESPN report, Musgrave is regarded as a potential successor to current offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey here in Atlanta. Mularkey is considered a head coaching candidate for the future, having interviewed with the Cleveland Browns earlier this month. There are currently no head coaching vacancies in the NFL, but Mularkey could likely be a candidate next season.

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