The Atlanta Falcons aren’t going to stand pat following their Super Bowl debacle.
A slew of assistant coaching positions are changing hands following the Falcons’ overtime loss Sunday to New England in which the team blew a 25-point lead and set what Telegraph sports columnist Bill Shanks called “a new benchmark low.”
The departure of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to become the San Francisco 49ers head coach was all but locked up before the game. It took less than 24 hours for the 49ers to hire him, and the formal introduction will come at 1 p.m. on Thursday.
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Shanahan’s counterpart on defense in Atlanta, meanwhile, will also be leaving, but by a choice not of his own doing.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday that defensive coordinator Richard Smith, as well as defensive line coach Bryan Cox, have been fired.
According to an unnamed team source cited by the AJC, the firings had nothing to do with Sunday’s collapse. Head coach Dan Quinn, according to the story, took a hands-on approach to defensive play-calling following the team’s bye week. The report also mentions the possibility that Smith might stay on in an advisory role.
There have been arrivals to Flowery Branch this week, as well. The Falcons didn’t waste much time replacing Shanahan with the hiring of Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who had just been promoted at Alabama prior to the national championship loss to Clemson.