Falcons: Breaking down new quarterbacks coach Charles London

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In case you missed it, Arthur Smith began filling out his coaching staff on Thursday. The offensive coordinator will be Dave Ragone, who was the quarterbacks coach in Chicago from 2016-2019 before becoming the passing game coordinator this past season. We know he won’t be calling the plays on Sundays, though. Arthur Smith will retain those duties, but Ragone will be heavily involved in the game planning from week to week. The defense will be coached by Dean Pees, who Smith coerced out of retirement to join his staff.

The Falcons made a flurry of other hires yesterday, naming Marquice Williams the special teams coordinator and Charles London the quarterbacks coach. The latter will be the subject of this article.

London is actually a Dunwoody, Georgia native and attended Dunwoody high school before continuing his career at Duke University.

That’s also where London’s coaching career began in 2004 as a graduate assistant. He then became the running backs coach in 2006 before making the leap to the NFL in 2007, joining the Bears staff — his first of two stints in Chicago. His connection to Smith and Ragone came in 2011, as all three were members of the Titans staff. At the time, London was an offensive assistant and quality control coach. He only served in that role for one year, though, before going back to the college game and coaching the running backs at Penn State under Bill O’Brien. He then followed O’Brien to Houston when he was named the Texans’ head coach.

In 2018, London reunited with the Bears and new Falcons offensive coordinator Dave Ragone, where he has spent the last three seasons as their running backs coach. From London’s profile, via the Bears official site:

Charles London is in his third season as the Bears running backs coach in 2020, after originally joining the club on January 12, 2018. His return to Chicago comes after serving as an offensive assistant with the Bears from 2007-09. London owns a decade of coaching experience and spent four seasons as the Texans running backs coach prior to re-joining the Bears.

Most recently in 2019, London played a key role in the development of rookie running back David Montgomery, who totaled 889 rushing yards with six rushing touchdowns. Montgomery’s yards and touchdown totals (7) were each good for second-best among rookie running backs in 2019 (Josh Jacobs, OAK) and tied for the team lead with WR Allen Robinson II.

Under London’s watch in 2018, Tarik Cohen enjoyed a breakout season, both as a running back and a punt return specialist, while Jordan Howard nearly eclipsed the 1,000-yard milestone for a third consecutive season with 935 yards and nine rushing touchdowns. Cohen led the team with 71 catches out of the backfield for a team-high 725 yards and five scores, while also rushing 99 times for 444 yards and three touchdowns. Cohen recorded a career-high 186 scrimmage yards in Week 13 against the Giants. His 156 receiving yards in that game were the most in a single game by a Bears running back since at least 1960 while his 12 catches matched a Bears single-game high for a running back.


I’ll admit, it’s a bit odd that a former running back that has spent most of his career as a running backs coach is getting the job as the Falcons quarterbacks coach. However, with Arthur Smith in the fold, and a former quarterbacks coach in Dave Ragone taking over as offensive coordinator, this hire seems more about familiarity than anything. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the title. All three of them will be involved in the handling of the quarterback room.

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