Atlanta's offseason has started off with a bit fireworks more than usual. Not much fireworks. Maybe a sparkler and half a roll of firecrackers, but still.
The Falcons made it pretty clear what they thought about who performed well: Mike Nolan gets a two-year contract extension. Defensive line coach Ray Hamilton and offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn will be able to explore their career opportunities elsewhere.
Smith is pretty consistent with hiring people he was worked with before. Mike Nolan, of course, came from Smitty's time in Baltimore. Dirk Koetter, Ray Hamilton, Paul Boudreau, Bill Musgrave, Brian VanGorder all came from Jacksonville. Did you know Thomas DeCoud used to deliver Smith his newspaper? And Sam Baker would mow his lawn before he injured his back sitting on the riding lawn mower? Most of these are true, try to disprove the remaining statements.
Vaughn McClure, who used to cover the Chicago Bears, suggested this former Bears offensive line coach and (briefly) offensive coordinator for one of the openings.
Mike Tice would be very interested in coaching the Falcons offensive line.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) December 30, 2013
Tice would be a pretty big name, as he was the head coach to the Minnesota Vikings and worked alongside Mike Smith in Jacksonville as an assistant head coach and offensive coach. He is also pretty good betting on the ponies. Tice did well previously with offensive lines but struggled with the lack of talent and Mike Martz suicidal offensive gameplan in Chicago.
I've seen plenty of tweets suggesting Todd McClure should be brought in as an offensive line coach. I think our team would most improve if we just brought him back to play center and push Hawley to right guard, AKA the unending dumpster fire since Harvey Dahl left. Maybe Clabo could come in as an assistant offensive line coach, but we need a magic man with some experience to fix up our shamble of an offensive line.
Mike Nolan's coaches in San Francisco could bring up a quality defensive line coordinator. However, they seem to be doing pretty well with all his relevant former coordinators under contract with other NFL teams. The Ravens coaching tree is particularly spectacular.
Jim Colletto was the offensive line coach for Smitty's time in Baltimore and was the Detroit Lions offensive coordinator in 2007-2008. He seems to be entirely out of football since then. Problem is he was available but Pat Hill was thought of as the better coach in Atlanta just two years ago.
We are down to Jacksonville coaches, if only because the Google machine cannot tell me the coaching tree of Tennessee Technological University 20 years ago.
The assistant defensive line coach in Jacksonville (Ray Hamilton was the defensive line coach) was Todd Howard, the current defensive line coach for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He bounced around Pac 10 teams after heading to the Canadian Football League. He doesn't feel like a realistic option to turn improve the defensive line that has struggled to develop and improve players.
Wow, and we are already out of former Smith co-workers. The remaining have either been fired from working for the Falcons or hold current positions on other teams. How about some other names?
Rod Marinelli would be the biggest DL coach name out there (or soon to be out there). He did so well as a defensive line coach he got a head coaching job in Detroit. That was a bad idea but he could be a fit in Atlanta, working with smaller lineman who in theory should be able to rush the passer.
A few other names that interest me include Redskins defensive line coach Jacob Burney, Redskins offensive line coach Chris Foerster and Detroit Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. Any name I'm missing that isn't Jim Washburn?