The Atlanta Falcons have moved pretty quickly to fill their open coaching positions this offseason, signing a new offensive coordinator and special teams coach in under 10 days from firing their old coaches.
The expectation was the early firings were the end of the staff turnover. We were wrong.
Per Jason Butt of The Athletic, the team is still shaking up the staff and football operations.
A coaching and staff move to pass on. The Falcons parted ways with Charlie Jackson (defensive assistant/defensive backs) and Todd Nielson (football research and development), sources tell The Athletic.— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) January 10, 2019
Nielson gathers and crunches numbers, studies probabilities, looks for any sliver of data concerning the Seahawks or opposing teams that could give Seattle an edge. That includes drawing up statistical reports for Coach Pete Carroll and his assistants, documenting plays and coverages during games, and even analyzing officiating crews for their specific tendencies.
Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff have long been criticized for seemingly ignoring analytics, most often seen during in-game decisions. If you recall, Quinn made what SB Nation called the worst coaching decision ever in that unforgettable loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Quinn went with his gut and kicked a field goal with limited game time remaining, a move that analytics suggested would drop the team’s win probability. (A field goal miss would have given them a better chance to win but Matt Bryant doesn’t miss.)
As far as Nielson’s day-to-day tasks with the Falcons or when he was hired, that information is apparently not available online. It’s an odd move to fire their stats guy as Quinn said he’s moving some decisions to a game management coach who should be able to rely on this type of data.
Charlie Jackson has previously worked as a defensive coach and college scout, and served as a defensive assistant for the team since February 2017. There’s not too much info on Jackson either, who is apparently out along with Marquand Manuel.
We generally expect a few more moves before everything is said and done.