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Falcons hire former Washington Redskins special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica

Keith Armstrong is replaced by the former Jets and Redskins coach.

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images

Keith Armstrong’s time with the Atlanta Falcons had passed as his inconsistent unit lead to his firing on Black Monday. Since then, we have heard zero news about the special teams coordinator search. The Falcons played this one close to the vest, announcing the hire Wednesday afternoon.

According to the press release, Dan Quinn sounds fired up.

“Ben will provide an experienced but new voice for our special teams. He brings an attacking attitude to our units, and we are excited to add him to our staff.” Head Coach Dan Quinn said.

I’m not sure how fired up you can be about a special teams coordinator, but “attacking” has quickly turned into a description for every new coach. What coach says they are going to go vanilla to keep field position? None of them.

What do we know about Kotwica?

According to Football Outsiders, he coached up the 8th best special teams DVOA last season, up from 22nd in 2017, 13th in 2016, and 6th in 2015. I’m certainly not on top of Washington’s special teams but those are some good numbers.

The press release includes a few interesting stats, including the league’s second-lowest kickoff return yardage in 2017. He was the defensive coordinator at USMA Prep School from 2005 to 2006, then was the defense/special teams quality control coach for the New York Jets from 2007 to 2008 under Eric Mangini. He moved up to assistant special teams coach, then finally special teams coordinator in 2013. It’s not clear if his contract with Washington was up or if he was allowed to talk with other teams.

If you’re looking for a Quinn connection, Kotwica coached under Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who was briefly Quinn’s agent between stints with the Jets and Miami Dolphins. They crossed paths for one year in 2007 when Quinn was the Jets defensive line coach.

He’s also got a pretty lengthy military history. Early indications are he can beat you up.

That is honestly very cool and something you don’t see too often from football coaches. Hopefully Kotwica can turn around Atlanta’s struggling return units, which have been disappointing for years. At the very least maybe special teams players won’t go to other teams and immediately make the Pro Bowl.

Welcome Kotwica to the Falcons and hope to see some better competition on special teams.