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The importance of Keith Armstrong and special teams continuity for the Falcons

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Keith Armstrong is one of the league's great special teams coach, and his retention means good things for the Falcons.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Keith Armstrong should be in Atlanta in 2015, and that's terrific news for everyone who plays special teams for this Falcons team.

The team's special teams haven't always been great under Armstrong—the lack of a decent returner hurt, there—but they were damn good in 2014, and Armstrong retains a knack for finding the likes of Eric Weems, Nate Stupar, Dezmen Southward and other players who can be key contributors on his unit. He also gets players who have defined roles on defense to buy in, including Kemal Ishmael.

Last year, this team ranked 5th in return yardage, 12th in kick return yardage, 14th in punt return yardage and, of course, Bosher and Matt Bryant were two of the most valuable specialists in the NFL. It's not the very top of the league, no, but it's beyond solid, and with the Falcons presumably placing less of an emphasis on special teams players with the roster remake to come, a good coach like Armstrong matters.

Few coaches have as sharp an eye for special teams talent as Keith Armstrong, period. When Eric Weems was in Atlanta, he was one of the league's premier gunners and blockers. When he went to Chicago, he did basically nothing. Matt Bosher fought through the yips in his rookie season with a lot of help and guidance from Armstrong. Matt Bryant is a terrific kicker, but he's never had the kind of success he has in Atlanta. And so on.

Not all of that is Armstrong's doing, obviously, but he has his reputation as one of the league's best special teams coaches for a reason. The Falcons will certainly hope the offense and defense are greatly improved, but having a solid kicker, strong kickoff and punt units and the ability to pin opposing offenses deep will remain incredibly valuable.

We don't know what the Falcons will look like in 2015, but with Armstrong at the helm, their special teams should be as good as ever. It's a start.