Falcons to block most of staff from Shanahan; Chip Kelly a legit option

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 01: Head coach Chip Kelly of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines against the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter of their NFL football game at Levi's Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Former San Francisco coach Chip Kelly has become a realistic candidate to replace Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan after the Super Bowl, when Shanahan leaves to take the San Francisco head coaching job. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

HOUSTON — Kyle Shanahan’s imminent departure as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator following the Super Bowl to officially accept San Francisco’s head coaching job will trigger two things: 1) Shanahan’s attempt to poach some assistants off the Falcons’ staff; 2) The search for his replacement will begin.

As for the first ripple effect: Don’t expect the Falcons to lose any assistant of significance. A source said the team will block any attempt by Shanahan to take one of Dan Quinn’s high-profile assistants, such as assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Raheem Morris, running backs coach Bobby Turner and offensive line coach Chris Morgan.

It’s far more likely Quinn would allow offensive assistants Mike McDaniel and Mike Lafleur to go with Shanahan, and/or possibly quarterbacks coach Matt Lafleur, who also worked under Shanahan in Houston and Washington. Matt Lafleur could be inclined to want to go because the Falcons are not likely to promote him — or anybody — from within the staff to replace Shanahan as the offensive play-caller.

As for Shanahan’s replacement, there was a report by Fox Sports last week that the Falcons would consider former Philadelphia, San Francisco and Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. Many quickly dismissed that possibility (including yours truly). But I’ve since learned that Kelly has evolved into a legitimate candidate, for two reasons:

• Being fired from two NFL jobs has humbled Kelly to a degree. He now acknowledges on some level that he will have to tweak his philosophy about a sped-up offense if he intends to remain an NFL coach. The Falcons value Kelly’s offensive mind but they obviously have no intention of subjecting Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and their primary weapons to a system where the offense is constantly running a form of a two-minute offense. The ripple effect to the defense also would be damaging, and it’s worth noting here that Quinn, above all else, is a defensive coach.

• The Falcons’ offensive coordinator’s job is an attractive one. But there aren’t many prime candidates available on the market. Two of the more attractive options were former San Diego coach Mike McCoy, who became the offensive coordinator in Denver two weeks ago, and former San Francisco and Buffalo OC Greg Roman, who just took a job in Baltimore. So Kelly becomes a more viable option.

Subscribe to the, “We Never Played The Game” podcast with Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes. All episodes also can be downloaded and heard on iTunes or via WSBRadio.com. Two new episodes every week.

Recent ramblings from the digital jukebox

Reader Comments 0

26 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

I don't know anything about Kelly other than his track record. Not so good. Maybe he will be a great OC, who knows! Handling one part of a team is a lot easier than being HC. Making the transition from OC to HC is a lot tougher than HC to OC. The Falcons are in the Super Bowl so I can't fault anything they've done. I trust they know what they are doing. If they say Kelly is the man, so be it......until proven different.

candlin14
candlin14

There is a big difference from Being a Head Coach plus calling offensive plays and just being an Offensive Coordinator. A lot more responsibility is alleviated with just being the O.C. 


Not many coaches are successful while doing both. Chip Kelly obviously wasn't but I will take my chances with him just being an O.C.

NorwegianBlue
NorwegianBlue

Prevailing sentiment (below) seems to be against Chip Kelly, but I couldn't disagree more. The guy is a great coach, offensive genius, and available at a discount. Grab him and don't look back. CDQ will ensure that the team still has the right balance, he will (rightly) prioritize defensive picks in the draft, and we will be a force on both sides of the ball in the coming years. (One caveat: next year will be tough with a SB champ schedule, so we may take a step back, but the fans need to stay positive. All the pieces are in place for a long-term run of success.)

DawgNole
DawgNole

@NorwegianBlue: "The guy is a great coach . . . ."

_______________

Correction: The guy WAS a great coach--way back during his Oregon days.

RonMexico
RonMexico

@DawgNole @NorwegianBlue He hasn't figured out how to run an NFL team, but there's no questioning that the guy knows how to score points. Big difference between being a head coach and an OC. 

NorwegianBlue
NorwegianBlue

@DawgNole @NorwegianBlue Ron makes my point. I meant (and said) "coach." Period. BTW, Oregon was all of 5 years ago. He didn't forget how to coach just because things didn't work out in Philly. (And don't get me started on SF. One year with that mess?? Please.)

NorwegianBlue
NorwegianBlue

@DawgNole Sorry. Just noticed Ron already weighed in on the SF issue. I second his comment.

antboogie
antboogie

@NorwegianBlue Guy is absolutely not an offensive genius, he ran a volume offense in Philly with continually diminishing offensive efficiency each year there, while subjecting veterans on offense to more wear and tear, the QB to unnecessary hits, and was incredibly stubborn and unimaginative. Rinse, wash repeat.  Defenses played on average the equivalent of two games additional due to offensive inefficiency. Defense actually played more snaps than the offense his last year in Philly.  Combine that with the Chinese menu sized playbook that had multiple teams calling out Eagles and 49ers plays, nothing like a genius.  Go see what his former players say about the offense. That myth died several seasons ago. Your defense will be beat to hell. Terrible people person as well. Are you his agent?

antboogie
antboogie

@RonMexico @DawgNole @NorwegianBlue Slow down, his teams scoring averages in Philly, especially his second year were highly skewed due to special teams and defensive touchdowns, of which I think that had 11 or 12 in 2014 alone. Btw, the NFC East had 3 of the 6 worst defenses in the league in his time in Philly. Go look at his points per play and get back to me.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@NorwegianBlue 

He's been a miserable failure as a coach over the past two seasons. And SF was even worse with him than without him.

That's what I mean (and say). Period.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket 

That's why he was fired twice in two years by two different teams, right?

DUH (as always with you)!

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

When the Birds were interested in Quinn two years ago, didn't they have to lay off until after the Super Bowl?


Here's hoping Kyle losing the offensive game plan in Houston yesterday ain't an indication of a burning case of short-timer's disease




Jammassah
Jammassah

Why not promote from within and keep the current system in place? Why go through another two years of learning a new system?

TideDawg
TideDawg

Should the Falcons hire Chip Kelly it would prove only one point.....Super Media spawns insanity.

Darken-Rahl
Darken-Rahl

Falcons' fans scream HELL NO! to Chip Kelly. That man has been a cancer to every NFL team he's ever touched. Stay Away and go back to college ranks where he belongs!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Darken-Rahl: ". . . a cancer to every NFL team he's ever touched."

_________________

EVERY NFL team--EVER???

Oh, really??? (GASP!)

You do know that's a whopping total of TWO teams, don't you?

RonMexico
RonMexico

@DawgNole @Darken-Rahl And the Niners job was a guaranteed disaster. There is absolutely no talent on that roster, and the owner is clueless. Kelly deserved more than one year.

antboogie
antboogie

@RonMexico @DawgNole @Darken-Rahl And the genius destroyed the Eagles roster and brought in inferior players who produced worse. Its almost like Falcon fans have forgotten how terrible Philly looked on Monday night to open the 2015 season here in Atlanta. And it continued the whole year in Philly. And yes, getting fired by two teams in two years is a red flag, regardless of situation. In no way did he make the 49ers better or look competent and professional. They lost by double digits in  almost every defeat in 2016.

khd713
khd713

So, why in the world would we want an OC whose system doesn't work in the NFL? There is no time for the OC to be learning a new system.

Birddog1313
Birddog1313

Chip Kelly - Falcons "Just say no!!!"