Former Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, who was with Atlanta the past 11 seasons, was hired as the new special teams coordinator by the Buccaneers on Wednesday, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
The Falcons fired Armstrong along with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel last month after the team finished last season 7-9.
Sarkisian and Manuel, who were both first-time NFL coordinators, have yet to surface on the NFL coaching carousal.
Armstrong joins the staff of new Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians, who was his college coach at Temple.
Ben Kotwica, a former assistant with the Redskins and Jets, was hired as the Falcons’ special teams coordinator Wednesday.
He was on the Jets staff with Falcons coach Dan Quinn in 2007 and 2008 when Quinn was the defensive line coach.
Kotwica was the defense/special teams quality control assistant those two years.
Armstrong sent specials teams players Eric Weems and Devin Hester to the Pro Bowl during his tenure with the Falcons. Also, cornerback Justin Bethel was a Pro Bowl alternate this season.
Armstrong will be remembered for his passionate speech that aired on HBO’s Hard Knocks. He was not happy after an exhibition game with the Texans. Here’s a post from Michael Cunningham’s Mike Check blog from Aug 27, 2014:
“Piss poor. Soft. He’s basically saying he don’t care. That’s good. That’s fine. I’ve got something for us.”
Armstrong did have something for his charges, and it was profane, intense and glorious.
Armstrong to the entire group: “Some of you guys think you are better than it, you think you are above it. Who do you think you are? The game don’t mean enough to you and that’s very (bleeping) apparent. You better wake up and get your pride in your game. Going to go out there and play like (bleep). Now, the (bleep) was coached the right way. I don’t want any excuses. Selfish ass.”
Armstrong to Devonta Freeman while showing video of his poor block that led to the blocked punt: “What the hell is this. Look at this crap. You kidding me? It ain’t OK to go around here and not know. That ain’t you. It ain’t OK. Really don’t care. That’s as selfish an act as you can make. Grow the (bleep) up.” (Comment: Maybe a foreshadowing of the missed block in Super Bowl LI?)
To Jacques Smith: “You do what I tell you to do. You ain’t good enough to be an ass(bleep). You understand that?”
To Ra'shede Hageman: “Do you start on defense? No. So what you going to do, sit your ass on the sidelines and watch the (bleeping) game? We got enough people around here doing that (bleep). Ain’t important to you.” (Comment: Some more foreshadowing here.)
To Goodman: “Mallicah, I’ve been telling you for two years. Right there, the same crap. Do you start? You a superstar? How many Pro Bowls you been to? You got a gold (Hall of Fame) jacket? So who are you? Coach Smitty asked me, ‘What do you think about Mallicah Goodman.’ ‘He don’t want it, coach.’ That’s what’s said. Told you, right to your face. That’s bull(bleep).”
Armstrong was also a head coaching candidate and interviewed for several openings, including the Falcons opening before Quinn was hired.
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