Kevin Koger

Ken Zampese, Ike Hilliard, Barrett Ruud Join Falcons’ Staff; Team Retains Jerry Gray

In Zac Robinson and Jimmy Lake, Raheem Morris installed two first-time NFL coordinators as his top lieutenants. The returning Falcons leader will backstop the OC-DC tandem with some experienced staffers in key posts.

The Falcons hired Ken Zampese as a senior offensive assistant, and the team is retaining defensive assistant Jerry Gray. The latter, an Arthur Smith hire, agreed to an extension to stay under Morris,’s Mike Garafolo notes. Zampese worked as the Bengals’ OC from 2016-17, while Gray has multiple stints of DC experience. The veteran staffer served as the Bills’ DC in the 2000s and led the Titans’ defense from 2011-13. Gray will continue in an assistant HC/defense capacity.

Gray, 61, came to Atlanta after philosophical differences with then-Green Bay DC Joe Barry keyed a Wisconsin exit. The former decorated DB has been an NFL assistant for the past 27 seasons. A second-generation NFL assistant, Zampese brings 24 years of experience at this level. The 56-year-old staffer is best known for his 15 seasons on Marvin Lewis‘ Bengals staff, most of which coming as the team’s QBs coach. Zampese was in that role for the past four seasons under Ron Rivera in Washington.

Ike Hillard also joined the Falcons as their wide receivers coach. This will mark a return to the league for the former Giants starter. Hilliard, 47, did not coach in 2022 and was last in the NFL as the Steelers’ receivers coach from 2020-21. An NFL receivers coach from 2011-21, Hilliard was at Auburn in 2022. The Falcons also added Kevin Koger as their tight ends coach. Koger was on the radar for OC positions in 2022, interviewing for the Broncos and Packers’ jobs. Koger, 34, spent the past three years as the Chargers’ TEs coach. These appointments will be rather important, given the investments the Falcons made in Drake London and Kyle Pitts.

As Hilliard settles in, the Falcons will shift T.J. Yates from receivers coach to quarterbacks coach. The former NFL QB spent three seasons on Smith’s staff, arriving during the 2021 offseason in which Morris left for Los Angeles. This will be his first season as a team’s top QBs coach, though it is not yet known exactly who Yates will be developing. Morris is also keeping Dwayne Ledford as offensive line coach, adding the role of run-game coordinator to his title. Smith brought Ledford out of the college ranks in 2021. Pro Football Focus ranked the Falcons’ O-line fourth last season. The Falcons retained assistant Steven King but will move him from an offensive staffer to assistant special teams coach.

Multiple Rams staffers will follow Morris as well. Tim Berbenich, a 2023 Rams assistant, signed on as a Falcons pass-game specialist. He will also hold game management responsibilities. Lance Schulters, whose DB career included a stop in Atlanta, joined Morris’ staff as a defensive assistant. He last coached with the Rams in 2022. Nick Jones, a three-year Rams staffer, is signing on with the Falcons as assistant O-line coach. Offensive assistant K.J. Black will also come to Georgia after spending time on McVay’s staff.

Jay Rodgers, whom the Chargers fired shortly after dismissing Brandon Staley, will receive another opportunity as part of this staff. The Falcons hired Rodgers as their D-line coach. Rodgers has been an NFL D-line coach for the past 12 years, serving in that capacity for the Broncos and Bears ahead of his L.A. stay. Justin Hood will move up to DBs coach, after spending 2023 on the quality control level in Green Bay.

Former NFL linebacker Barrett Ruud will also make his coaching debut in the pros, being hired as Atlanta’s ILBs coach. Ruud coached at Nebraska, his alma mater, from 2018-22. The Falcons will keep Michael Pitre as their running backs coach. Helping Tyler Allgeier to a 1,000-yard rookie year, Pitre has held this role for the past two seasons.

Rounding out the staff, the Falcons are hiring the son of longtime Patriots O-line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Steve Scarnecchia is onboard as the Falcons’ chief of staff, coming over from the Jets. Ex-Bolts assistant John Timu is now on Lake’s defensive staff. Chandler Whitmer, in place as a pass-game specialist, will join Rodgers, Timu and Koger incoming from the Chargers’ staff.

Broncos Eyeing Kevin Koger For OC

Chargers tight ends coach Kevin Koger is turning into a popular name on the OC circuit, and it sounds like the coach got another interview. According to Troy Renck of Denver7 (via Twitter), the Broncos will ask to interview Chargers tight ends coach Kevin Koger for their OC vacancy.

Koger is plenty familiar with new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Koger was the Packers offensive quality control coach in 2019 and 2020, with Hackett serving as OC. The 32-year-old spent the 2021 season in Los Angeles, where he served as the Chargers tight ends coach.

Koger was previously connected to the OC vacancy in Green Bay that opened when Hackett left for Denver. Even if the coach doesn’t land a promotion, interviews at this juncture of his career certainly reveal a positive view of the young assistant.

Per Renck, Hackett could also consider adding a passing-game coordinator to his staff. Either way, the new HC will be the one calling plays.

Packers Denying Broncos’ Interview Request With Adam Stenavich

An interesting update has been made with regards to the Packers’ and Broncos’ new-look coaching staffs. Green Bay is reportedly blocking offensive line coach Adam Stenavich from interviewing to join Nathaniel Hackett in Denver (Twitter link via 9News’ Mike Klis).

Stenavich was named as a top candidate for the Broncos’ OC role yesterday. The 38-year-old has spent the last three seasons in Green Bay, so it would make perfect sense if he was the preferred choice for Hackett. That would especially be true, given Stenavich’s relative inexperience, considering the fact that Hackett will be handling play-calling duties.

However, the news that Stenavich will not be interviewing in Denver suggests that he is in the running to get promoted to the OC position in Green Bay. Indeed, The Athletic’s Jason Wilde tweets that HC Matt LaFleur has publicly stated he would never block a position coach from leaving for a promotion – which all coaches have recently been prohibited from doing anyway. As such, he adds, “this points to Stenavich being told that he’ll be Hackett’s replacement”.

The other main in-house option for the Packers, when it comes to the OC role, is quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy. Externally, the candidates linked to the job so far are Chargers tight ends coach Kevin Koger and Eagles QB coach Brian Johnson. Today’s news, though, certainly signals that those three are not being considered favorites for the job as of now.

Packers Interview Bolts’ Kevin Koger For OC Job, Plan To Meet With Eagles’ Brian Johnson

After three years with Nathaniel Hackett as Matt LaFleur‘s right-hand man on offense, the Packers must find a replacement. A day after Hackett became the Broncos’ head coach, they are interviewing external candidates.

The Packers have interviewed Chargers tight ends coach Kevin Koger for their offensive coordinator job, and Ian Rapoport of tweets Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson is expected to interview as well. The team is still considering in-house staffers Luke Getsy (QBs coach) and Adam Stenavich (offensive line) for Hackett’s old job.

Koger is just 32 but was with the Packers for two years. The former Michigan tight end worked as a quality control staffer in Green Bay from 2019-20. The Chargers hired him as their tight ends coach last year. Koger would be an unlikely fit, based on his experience, at this point. That said, the Broncos also plan to meet with Koger about their OC vacancy, Rapoport adds (via Twitter). Interviews at this juncture of Koger’s career certainly reveal a positive view of the young assistant.

Johnson, 34, has only been an NFL assistant for one season, coming to Philadelphia in 2021. But he was a college offensive coordinator at three schools — Utah, Houston and Florida — and landed his first OC gig when he was just 25. Johnson oversaw the Gators’ offense in 2020, helping Kyle Pitts break through to become the highest-drafted tight end in the common draft era.

Getsy and Stenavich have each drawn outside OC interest. The Broncos are expected to interview Stenavich for their OC gig, while the Bears are targeting Getsy — to the point an offer is expected — for their play-calling gig under Matt Eberflus. Green Bay’s OC role does not come with play-calling responsibilities, with LaFleur performing that role.

Packers Add Two Coaches To Staff

The Packers coaching staff continues to take shape. The Packers have hired Kevin Koger as their offensive quality control coach and Jason Vrable as an offensive assistant, according to Charean Williams of

Koger has spent the past three seasons as the wide receivers coach at Eastern Kentucky, and he also served as the special teams coordinator during the 2018 campaign. The 29-year-old also had coaching stints at Michigan and Tennessee.

The former tight end was a standout at Michigan between 2008 and 2011, but a torn Achilles tendon seemingly ended any chance he had of making the NFL. Now, he’ll have a chance to make his mark as a coach under Matt LaFleur.

Vrabel has spent six seasons coaching in the NFL, including the past two years as an offensive assistant with the Jets. He was previously the offensive quality control coach for the Bills, and he had a brief stint as Buffalo’s running backs coach. Vrabel will now play an important role on offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett‘s staff.