Atlanta Falcons: New Coaches Impact


Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn during Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. The Seahawks defeated the Broncos 43-8. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the news today of Raheem Morris and Richard Smith being hired as Defensive Coordinators, it seems that we can expect a roster overhaul for the Atlanta Falcons.  Raheem Morris being Asst Head Coach and Pass Defensive Coordinator and Richard Smith as the Run Defensive Coordinator.  So what does this mean about our offseason?  We for starters, we’ve hired two coordinators that are known as hard nosed players coaches just like expected coaching hire Dan Quinn will be also.  Now while we did miss out on Fangio (signed with the Bears) there are things to be excited about for the Atlanta Falcons.

For starters let’s talk about the attraction now of possibly signing with the Atlanta Falcons.  As a free agent, scouts pour hundreds of hours trying to determine in what schemes you fit best.  Now while that may seem obvious this also changes the way that free agents sign with teams.  Many contracts sign now has a base salary and guaranteed salary with a bunch of escalators to work with.  What many people don’t recognize is even though the head coach is in charge of what schemes are in place, it is the coordinators job to coach you effectively in those schemes.

So let’s take a look at what our offensive and defensive coordinators success has.  Kyle Shanahan is known for zone blocking and the ability to get production out of later round running backs such as Terrance West (3rd round) and Isaiah Crowell (undrafted).  Now while the Browns did sign Ben Tate and drafted Trent Richardson, it’s clear that looking for hidden gems and turning them into diamonds in later rounds has worked out for the Browns.  Keep in mind, receiver talent for the Browns was limited to aging Miles Austin, injured Jordan Cameron, and troubled Josh Gordon.  Also talent at quarterback with Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel didn’t show anything promising.  However, the offensive line showed plenty in garnering an underrated O line with Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, and John Greco leading the way.  Now injuries happen but its easy to say that Alex Mack probably would’ve made the Browns a potential wild card team. So Kyle Shanahan would need to find either an Offensive lineman that can do zone blocking well.  Someone like Orlando Franklin and maybe Jordan Cameron willing to play for him also.

Grade B

Raheem Morris isn’t made to be a head coach.  He’s also a bit of a confusing hire for me because the Redskins in the last four years are ranked 29th in big plays allowed.  Not exactly what I want for a passing defensive coordinator.  Now is this because of coaching schemes or talent?  Tough to say honestly.  David Amerson looks like a deer in headlights and DeAngelo Hall isn’t a world beater.  In 07 and 08, he had better talent in Philip Buchanon and Ronde Barber and a very young Aqib Talib. Those were very talented pass defenses to throw on but, that was 7 years ago.  Can we really expect the same thing as he joins the Atlanta Falcons?  I’m not sure but, he will have talent in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford helping him out. Since Dan Quinn is 99 percent chance of being our head coach, could Byron Maxwell be ready to wear Atlanta Falcon colors?  We’ll see.

Grade C-

Richard Smith is the former LB coach of the Denver Broncos.  This is a pretty exciting hire considering who he’s had to work with.  Von Miller is an old school linebacker that is one of the top 5 in the league right now.  He’s been working with Smith since being drafted and is a maniac since being in the league.  He’s also turned Terrance Knighton into a tough nosed DL that has earned him (apropos of nothing) the nickname Pot Roast.  He’s graded very well in PFF in being a run stuffing DL.  That’s music to my ears here in Atlanta Falcon country, where glimpses of a dominant defense can only be reflected to week one, three, and sixteen of last year.

Grade A

So what does this mean for Free Agents?  Well in terms of what an agents job is suppose to do is garner the most amount of money that their player can have while putting them in the right place to succeed.  Or otherwise known as avoiding Oakland.  However, smart players know that with the right coordinators, they can receive those contract escalators.  So while fans will be quick to shout out the biggest free agents we can have (Suh, JPP, Iupati) it’s even more important to find players that are the right fit for the culture and the scheme.  That’s where the head coaches job comes in.  By having such a large staff now, the Atlanta Falcons become an attractive destination for players to want to join.  If Quinn is our hire, than the Atlanta Falcons can begin implementing the possibilities of a new defensive culture that can compliment our offense.