With Dan Quinn taking on the play-calling duties of the defense, he wanted to add some administrative in-game help on the coaching staff.
Kyle Flood, who was the team’s assistant offensive line coach last season, will serve as a senior assistant and will help Quinn with replay challenges and clock-management issues.
Quinn, who fired all three coordinators after the 7-9 season Dec. 31, gave an update of the revamped coaching staff and announced some sweeping changes over a conference call Thursday.
“He will assist me in a number of ways,” Quinn said.
Flood, the former head coach at Rutgers from 2012-15, has been in the NFL for one season. He replaced Greg Schiano at Rutgers after he left to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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Flood had a controversial tenure at Rutgers, which included allegations of misconduct by the coach and several arrests on violent criminal charges by several players.
Flood coached in the college ranks from 1994 to 2015 at C.W. Post (1994-96), Hofstra, (1997-2001), Delaware (2002-04) and Rutgers (2005-15). He and Quinn are close friends from their days together at Hofstra.
Flood played at Iona from 1989 to 1992.
The Falcons had previously announced that Dirk Koetter would replace Steve Sarkisian as the offensive coordinator, that Ben Kotwica would replace Keith Armstrong as the special-teams coordinator and that Mike Mularkey would replace Wade Harman as the tight ends coach.
Mularkey and offensive line coach Chris Morgan will work together to improve the unit’s blocking.
In other moves, running backs coach Bernie Parmalee was moved, in a demotion, to the assistant special-teams position.
“His passion for coaching special teams was evident all year,” Quinn said. “I love the energy that he brings to our team.”
Dave Brock was moved from assistant wide receivers coach to running backs coach in a promotion.
The conference call also was the first time that Quinn took questions from the media about concerns over the hiring of Koetter and Mularkey.
The Falcons plan to run the same offense, but Koetter will be in charge of the tweaks and new wrinkles.
Also, Quinn believes that Koetter will help to balance the offense, which had a lopsided pass-to-run heavy production last season.
“The explosive plays through the years, I’ve certainly been impressed by that,” Quinn said. “The Atlanta offense here, we’ll have balance.”
But the knock on Koetter is that he’ll get locked in on throwing the ball vertically, while paying lip-service to the run game.
Quinn pointed to Koetter’s history to refute such claims.
“Going all the way to ’15 looking at Doug Martin, he was ranked as certainly one of the best runners at that time,” Quinn said. “Even all the way back to the Jacksonville days with MJD (Maurice Jones-Drew) and even earlier than that. That kind of balance, Dirk and I both agree, offensively that’s the best way to attack.”
With Koetter as the coordinator, Martin rushed for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns in 2015 and was named All-Pro and was selected to the Pro Bowl team.
Koetter was the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville from 2007-11, Jones rushed for more that 1,300 yards in 2009, ’10 and ’11. In 2011, he led the NFL in rushing with 1,606 yards.
In 2007, Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor rushed for 1,202 yards.
Falcons fans remember that Koetter couldn’t reproduce those same rushing numbers with the Falcons from 2012-14.
In 2012, Michael Turner rushed for 800 yards on 222 carries, but scored 10 rushing touchdowns. The team replaced him with Steven Jackson, who was not as productive as Turner over the next two seasons behind a rebuilt, but shaky offensive line.
He rushed for 543 yards in 2014 and 707 yards in 2015.
The Falcons are comfortable with two only of the five starting line positions and will address the unit this offseason internally, in the draft and free agency.
Mularkey has mostly been in the power blocking scheme, but Quinn is fine with the three-time former head coach teaching outside-zone and inside-zone blocking.
“I’ve coached with Mike and I’ve coached against Mike,” Quinn said. “Many times going against his units has been really challenging and the toughness that his teams have played with. I like the blend of adding Mike and Chris Morgan into the run game. Adding Dirk at the offensive coordinator to oversee all of it.”
Koetter (2012-14) and Mularkey (2008-11) are previously coordinators with the Falcons and have worked closely with quarterback Matt Ryan.
“Matt was not involved in the interviews in any way,” Quinn said. “I do believe that past relationships of (people) working together can pay off. Sometimes you can get moving more quickly because you do have a good relationship. I think the same can be said of Mike Mularkey.”
Quinn insisted that Ryan has continued to grow over his career.
“What both men will realize, especially in Mike’s case, I would say, that Matt is a different quarterback and a leader since they were around him,” Quinn said. “There are some benefits for sure from having a previous relationship.”