The Falcons spent the bye week evaluating the team, as one does when they are 1-7, and decided on some changes. We have yet to see if there are changes to the roster on the way as well, but Dan Quinn has seen fit to shake up the coaching staff, at the very least.
Per the team, Quinn is moving Raheem Morris back to the defensive side of the ball to work with defensive backs. Assistant special teams coach Bernie Parmalee will coach running backs—and as he was one, that seems like a logical move—while Dave Brock will slide over from running backs coach to wide receivers coach. It’s not the mass staff changes many fans were hoping for, but it’s a change.
What does it mean? Start with the Morris move, which is a headliner and a logical sort of move. Morris has been a defensive backs coach at multiple stops along the way, including with Tampa Bay (2007-2008) and Washington (2012-2014). He also served in that role in 2015 before the Falcons surprisingly moved him to offense, where he worked with the wide receivers from 2016 through the first half of this year. He’s an experienced coach players like and respect, and the secondary has had disastrous communication problems and coverage lapses all year that have been a major driver behind the team’s awful 2019 performance. This is shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic at this point given the hole the team is in, but no one should be surprised if Morris gets more out of the defensive backs in his care.
Parmalee joined Atlanta last year in this same role and spent this year as an assistant to Ben Kotwica, but this is a natural position for him to coach. Parmalee spent his playing career from 1992-2000 in the AFC East, where he was a capable committee back. The return to the role is a natural one, then, and hopefully he can do good work with the likes of Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison going forward.
Finally, Brock returns to a familiar position, as well. He’s an experienced coach who spent 2017-2018 as the assistant wide receivers coach before taking over the running backs coach gig this year. He should be a fine choice for this.
One of the more interesting notes here regards what this means for Dan Quinn. It’s possible that these moves will have no impact on Arthur Blank’s decision making going forward—the team is still 1-7, and changing coaches around isn’t going to suddenly right the ship—but it is noteworthy that Blank held on to him through the bye and is now letting him shuffle the deck a bit here in the hopes of getting better performance. I still don’t have the best read on Quinn’s job status, but one way or the other, hopefully these changes will make a slight but noticeable difference in the way this team is playing.