Play-caller Bartel becomes third coach to leave Legends

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

The Atlanta Legends have now lost three coaches.

If losing two coaches in a month’s span before the season started wasn’t enough, quarterback Matt Simms revealed Sunday that the Legends’ leadership recently took another unexpected blow.

Quarterbacks coach Rich Bartel resigned just two days before the team’s home opener against the Birmingham Iron.

"Some of the stuff we had communication-wise was due to the situation we had to deal with this weekend," Simms said while explaining the team's errors in Sunday's 28-12 loss to the Iron.

“I don’t think anybody really anticipated that our offensive coordinator would leave two days before the game. That kind of delayed how we went about our process as far as having a rhythm and getting a rhythm going,” he said.

Bartel was officially the quarterbacks coach but after the departure of Michael Vick as offensive coordinator in February, Bartel had taken over the play-calling duties. It is unclear who called the plays in Sunday's game.

A team representative declined comment but confirmed Bartel’s departure. The Legends had not released any information about the resignation before Simms mentioned it in the post-game press conference.

The losses of Bartel and Vick were preceded by a similar resignation from head coach Brad Childress in January.

Kevin Coyle, the current head coach who earned that role in the wake of Childress’ departure, has had the weight of every coaching change heaped upon his shoulders. After the loss to the Iron, which left the Legends 0-3, he expressed his admiration for how his team has endured the coaching changes.

“I’m disappointed for them, not in them. They’re giving us everything they have. It’s not perfect, but I don’t think any team is perfect. We haven’t had the chance to reap the benefits of the effort they’ve put forth so far,” Coyle said.

“This is a hell of a group of young men, and I’m proud to be their coach. We’re going to work hard to get this thing right.”

The Legends next play at Arizona on Sunday.