The Falcons haven’t finalized their coaching staff yet, but they took a big step toward doing so on Monday with the announcement that they have promoted, hired, and otherwise moved around a total of ten coaches.
The announcement includes the previously reported hiring of ex-Alabama assistant Dave Huxtable, as well as promotions for some deserving assistants on the defensive side of the ball. Now we’re just waiting for the announcement of a quarterbacks coach hiring and we’re mostly done here.
Let’s run these down in no particular order.
Steve Jackson to secondary coach
Jackson is taking over for recently fired secondary coach Jon Hoke. An experienced coach who played nearly a decade in the NFL, Jackson has been heavily involved with defensive backs as both a player and a coach, having served as the secondary coach for the Bengals from 2020-2021. Jackson moves over from a senior assistant role he took over when he was hired in 2022, and will be tasked with getting the most out of a young and talented group in the Atlanta secondary.
An encouraging note from the team’s writeup:
“Under Jackson’s guidance, Cincinnati’s defensive backs limited opposing quarterbacks to a 60.8 completion percentage, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions resulting in a 74.9 passer rating over a four-game run in the 2021 postseason, en route to an appearance in Super Bowl LVI.”
Lanier Goethie to defensive front specialist
A nice promotion for a player who had served as a defensive assistant the past two seasons in Atlanta. Goethie has a background with linebackers, having served as the linebackers coach with Duke prior to joining the Falcons, and will be tasked with helping Ryan Nielsen (whose background is with the defensive front) coach up a group that will probably see a major infusion of talent. It’s a nice promotion for a coach I’ve heard good things about.
Nick Perry to assistant wide receivers coach
An assistant defensive backs coach the past two seasons, Perry is switching sides of the ball and serving as an assistant for wide receivers coach T.J. Yates. Hopefully his background with defensive backs will help him coach up a young group of receivers on the finer points of...well, beating defensive backs. Like Goethie, Perry coached at the Senior Bowl back in 2022 and is well-regarded in the organization.
Dave Huxtable hired as senior defensive assistant
With a rich background in college football as a defensive coordinator and coach, not to mention ties to this staff, Huxtable is an intriguing hire and this makes that hiring official. You can read our full story about that hire here.
Matt Baker hired as special teams assistant
Like Huxtable, Baker is tied to Arthur Smith from their shared days in North Carolina. Baker was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at John Carroll University for the past four years, and will step into a role assisting Marquice Williams and working with Atlanta’s excellent special teams group in the NFL.
The team also announced five other changes to the staff, outlined below. Perhaps the most interesting note from this list is Flaherty, as he served as an assistant for offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford for two years at North Carolina State prior to joining the Falcons last year.
“In addition to said changes, Steven King and Patrick Kramer have been named offensive assistants, Mario Jeberaeel as the special projects: defense coach, Shawn Flaherty as the assistant offensive line coach, Michael Gray as a football analyst, and Mateo Kambui as the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellow working with the offensive line.”
We’re still waiting on the quarterbacks coach, as I mentioned, and the team may add more pieces to the defensive coaching staff. Still, we’re a lot closer to seeing the full and complete 2023 Falcons coaching staff than we were before today, so that’s a big plus.