Chris Morgan

Chip Kelly Legit OC Candidate For Falcons

Just over a week after the Falcons expressed interest in having Chip Kelly become their next offensive coordinator, the former Eagles and 49ers head coach has emerged as a “legitimate candidate” to land the role, reports Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Kelly would take over for Kyle Shanahan, who will replace Kelly as the 49ers’ head coach after the Falcons take on the Patriots in Super Bowl LI this Sunday.

Chip Kelly (vertical)

The fact that there aren’t any other proven offensive coordinator candidates on the market makes Kelly a viable option for Atlanta, Schultz notes. Long an offensive guru, the 53-year-old Kelly would inherit an enviable collection of talent in Atlanta, whose attack has laid waste to opposing defenses this season. The Matt Ryan-, Julio Jones– and Devonta Freeman-led unit topped the NFL in both scoring and DVOA during the regular season, and it has combined for 78 points in playoff wins over the Seahawks and Packers.

Kelly is known for running a fast-paced offense, which helped lead to his downfall in both Philadelphia and San Francisco, but the ex-Oregon head coach’s NFL failures have “humbled” him, according to Schultz. As a result, Kelly is willing to slow things down, which he’d have to do in order to accommodate the Falcons’ offensive weapons and make life easier on the team’s defense.

Shanahan, meanwhile, won’t be able to take any significant members of head coach Dan Quinn‘s staff with him to San Francisco. The Falcons will prevent him from pilfering the likes of assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Raheem Morris, running backs coach Bobby Turner and offensive line coach Chris Morgan, a source told Schultz. However, offensive assistants Mike McDaniel, Mike LaFleur and Matt LaFleur could end up with Shanahan’s 49ers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/15/16

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves:

  • The Rams have re-signed tight end Cory Harkey, according to Nick Wagoner of (on Twitter). Harkey, whose primarily used as a blocker, saw time in all 16 regular season games in 2015. He did see some passes thrown his way, however, catching five balls for 26 yards.
  • Former Washington offensive lineman Tom Compton will be signing with the Falcons, according to Rand Getlin of NFL Network (on Twitter). It’s a new team for Compton, but he’ll have some familiar faces in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and offensive line coach Chris Morgan.
  • The Falcons announced that they have signed safety Damian Parms, wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke. Robinson, a 5’10” receiver, played in 36 games for Washington over the years and recorded 30 receptions for 608 yards and five touchdowns in total. Robinson has also spent time on the Ravens’ taxi squad.

NFC South Notes: Benson, S-Jax, Falcons

A court in San Antonio ruled yesterday that Saints owner Tom Benson needs help in managing his assets in Texas, as Katherine Sayre of The Times-Picayune writes. Meanwhile, Benson’s daughter Renee is seeking to overthrow Tom as trustee in the Texas trust, arguing he has mismanaged assets and is in declining health.

Benson, who owns the NBA’s Pelicans in addition to the Saints, suffered another loss in court today, when a New Orleans judge ruled that the 87-year-old must undergo evaluations by three different doctors to determine whether he remains competent to control his NFL and NBA franchises. As Andy Grimm of the Times-Picayune details, one doctor will be appointed by Benson, one by his daughter Renee, and the third will be named by those first two physicians.

Here’s more on the Benson story, along with a couple other notes out of the NFC South:

  • Saints owner Tom Benson issued a statement regarding his current situation and it sounds like he has no intention of backing down. “I have instructed my attorneys to spare no effort in defending my rights and the decisions I have made. The decisions I have made are well within my rights to make at any point in my life, and rest assured that I am making sound decisions. I need not look any further than to read the allegations made against me in these multiple lawsuits to rest easy that I have made the correct decisions,” Benson said in the statement (via Saints VP of communications Greg Bensel on Twitter).
  • Vaughn McClure of (on Twitter) doesn’t expect Steven Jackson to be back with the Falcons next season. McClure notes that Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan declined to address Jackson’s future with the team, though that would ultimately be more in the court of head coach Dan Quinn.  Jackson, 32 in July, appeared in 15 games for the Falcons last season, running for 707 yards off of 190 carries with 6 TDs. Cutting Jackson would save Atlanta $3.75MM against the cap.
  • The Falcons officially announced the rest of their coaching staff for the upcoming season. Atlanta hired Keith Carter as assistant offensive line coach, Matt LaFleur as quarterbacks coach, Doug Mallory as defensive assistant/linebackers coach, Marquand Manuel as secondary coach/senior defensive assistant, Mike McDaniel as offensive assistant, Chris Morgan as offensive line coach, Jeff Ulbrich as linebackers coach, and Chad Walker as defensive assistant/defensive backs.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Coaching Notes: Seahawks, Cardinals, Washington, Falcons

Following the Falcons hiring of former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, a former league executive wondered what could have been. Former Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said that he twice tried to hire Quinn to become Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator, according to Alex Marvez of (via Twitter). Instead, Dominik settled for Bill Sheridan and Raheem Morris.

Let’s check out some more coaching notes from around the league…

  • The Seahawks plan is to promote defensive backs coach Kris Richard to fill their defensive coordinator vacancy, but they may conduct a wider search first, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter).
  • The Falcons will hire Seahawks assistant offensive line coach Chris Morgan as their new offensive line coach, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Morgan, of course, is following friend Dan Quinn to Atlanta.
  • The Cardinals are scheduled to hire Bob Sanders as one of their linebacker coaches, according to Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910 AM (on Twitter). Sanders 61, served as the defensive coordinator of the Packers from 2006-08. He spent last year on the Raiders‘ staff.
  • Washington (on Twitter) announced the hiring of Robb Akey as their defensive line coach. Akey, who has 26 years of coaching experience, served as the assistant defensive line coach for the Vikings in 2014.
  • Furthermore, Washington is likely finished adding defensive assistants, tweets Mike Jones of the Washington Post.

Ben Levine contributed to this post.