Since the firing of Dan Quinn (okay, probably longer than that), Falcons fans have been calling for an offensive-minded head coach. I feel the same, but with the recent routing of the Raiders, and a coaching suggestion from a Twitter follower (shout out to my home-boy Brian!) I am inclined to explore defensive options such as Robert Saleh.
Robert Saleh is currently the Defensive Coordinator for the 49ers. He has been on the defensive coaching staff for the Texans, Seahawks, and Jaguars as well. While Saleh only recently attained coordinator status, he continues to showcase his coaching abilities. You may not be familiar with Saleh’s career, so here are the highlights:
Saleh served as the Defensive Quality Control Coach under Pete Carroll. The crowning achievement of this stint is obviously the Super Bowl win over the Broncos following the 2013 season. The Seattle defense abused the famed Denver offense as they intercepted two Peyton Manning passes and forced several fumbles.
Fast-forward to 2017, Saleh is hired as the DC under Kyle Shanahan. During his third season with San Fransisco, Saleh’s defense put up video game numbers with 12 interceptions and 23 forced fumbles. Even more recently, Saleh has been able to keep his defense stout despite having frequent injuries and starting lineup changes. Richard Sherman was quoted as saying,
“You’ve gotta give Robert Saleh an abundance of credit, you have to give him an unusual amount of credit, and I don’t think he’s getting enough credit, not just here, but in the league in general…To have the injuries we’ve had, week after week after week, the setbacks, week after week. We lose to D-linemen during the bye week … and he never makes an excuse. And statistically, we’re still a top-five defense in almost every category…I expect him to be a head coach next year because he’s able to rally men. He’s a leader of men, and that goes a long way.”
As Sherman mentioned, the 49er defense is currently ranked:
- 11th in points allowed
- 10th in Fumbles and Interceptions
- 7th in Yards allowed
- 5th in Passing yards allowed
- 5th in TDs allowed
- 3rd in allowing TDs from inside the Red Zone
Robert Saleh would be an exciting coach for the Falcons to rally around while turning the defense from mediocre to dangerous. With a few draft picks, this could be a top 10 unit in the league. Last Sunday’s performance against the Raiders proved that. The Falcons already stacked offense paired with a new OC will inevitably generate TDs; other teams won’t keep up if the defense is stout.
Who would you like to see as the next Falcons HC? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @kshradar_ATL.