Ben Kotwica

Falcons Fire ST Coordinator Ben Kotwica

It’s been a busy day for the Falcons, and the changes keep coming. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that Atlanta has fired special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica. Running backs coach Bernie Parmalee will take over the position.

[RELATED: Falcons Fire Dan Quinn, Thomas Dimitroff]

ESPN Vaughn McClure notes that Kotwica had been on the hot seat since the team’s Week 2 loss to Dallas. Late in that game, the Falcons’ special teams unit fell victim to the “watermelon” onside kick late. The Cowboys recovered the ball and proceeded to win on a game-winning field goal.

Kotwica, 45, joined the Falcons in 2019. He had spent the previous five seasons as the Redskins special teams coordinator, and he also held that role with the Jets in 2013. Parmalee, who spent nine years in the league as a player, has served as the Falcons running backs coach since 2018. McClure tweets that game management coordinator Will Harriger will be the new running backs coach.

Earlier today, we learned that the Falcons had replaced Dan Quinn with defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. McClure tweets that Jeff Ulbrich will now take over as defensive coordinator. The former third-round pick had served as the Falcons linebackers coach since 2015, and he had earned a promotion to assistant head coach earlier this year.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Falcons, Panthers

New Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will call plays in Tampa Bay, head coach Bruce Arians told The Rich Eisen Show (Twitter link via Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times). That’s something of a surprise, as Arians led the offense when he was the Cardinals’ head coach. Leftwich took over as Arizona’s OC after Mike McCoy was fired four games into the 2018 campaign, but he couldn’t get the Cardinals out of the NFL rankings cellar in terms of points and yards. Arians will still have a heavy hand in Tampa Bay’s offense, while new run game coordinator Harold Goodwin will also have input.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Former Redskins special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica has joined the Falcons in the same capacity, Atlanta announced today. He’ll replace Keith Armstrong, who was one of three Atlanta coordinators fired after the 2018 campaign. Washington ranked two spots higher in special teams DVOA than Atlanta a season ago, per Football Outsiders, finishing with better results in kickoffs and punt returns. Kotwica has worked in the NFL since 2007, working his way up from quality control coach to special teams coordinator with the Jets.
  • Armstrong, meanwhile, will take over as the Buccaneers‘ new special teams coach, tweets Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. He’d been linked to Tampa Bay ever since Arians was rumored to be taking the head coaching position, and for good reason: as Auman notes, Armstrong played for Arians at Temple 35 years ago. Armstrong, who was a candidate for the Cardinals’ head coaching job in 2018, was fired by the Falcons last week, but quickly interviewed for a gig with the Bills before landing with the Buccaneers.
  • The Buccaneers have hired former Broncos offensive line coach Sean Kugler for the same position, reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). The Bills also had interest in interviewing Kugler before he signed on with Tampa Bay, according to Ryan Talbot of New York Upstate. Kugler, previously the head coach at UTEP, joined Denver in 2018 and guided a Broncos front five which ranked as a top-12 unit in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate. Other Tampa Bay hires include former Jets coach Mike Caldwell (linebackers) and ex-Cardinals coach Rick Christophel (tight ends), per Auman (Twitter links).
  • After being fired by the Jaguars last week, Perry Fewell is interviewing for the Panthers‘ secondary coach job on Wednesday, tweets Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. A former defensive coordinator for the Bills and Giants, Fewell worked with Carolina coach head coach Ron Rivera in Chicago in 2005. The Panthers still have Richard Rodgers in place as a secondary coach, but they’ve lost multiple defensive backs coach within the past year. Curtis Fuller resigned as the team’s secondary coach last summer, while assistant Jeff Imamura was fired as part of a housecleaning in early December.