After replacing Dean Pees, the Falcons will have to find a successor for Charles London as Atlanta’s former quarterbacks coach will head to Tennessee to be the Titans’ pass game coordinator. Arthur Smith will now have a pivotal hire ahead of him. The team’s head coach has an impact on developing a young quarterback, but his position coach sees him intimately every single day. Who will coach Desmond Ridder in 2023?
Yates is an in-house candidate. Moving the former quarterback to coach Ridder would create a void in the wide receiver room, so that’s an obstacle. Still, the 35-year-old spent seven seasons as a signal caller in this league. Even if it was mainly as a backup, Yates understands the nuances of playing the position at a high level. He even had a stint in Atlanta.
Downing was relieved of his coordinating duties in Tennessee. He certainly has relations with Arthur Smith and is more than qualified to coach the Falcons’ quarterbacks. His best work came in 2015 when he helped Derek Carr to the best season of his career at the time. He’s spent time in the same role with the Lions and Bills. Downing would be my preference.
Henley might not be as high-profile as Downing, but Falcons fans might recognize the name. He spent the 2021 campaign assisting Dwayne Ledford with the offensive line. Prior to that, Henley spent time with Arthur Smith in Tennessee as a quality control coach for a few years. He’s also got experience coaching the position, so though he’s a dark horse, the current Dolphins assistant quarterbacks coach is a candidate.
Like Downing, Lombardi was just fired. After serving as the Chargers’ offensive coordinator for the last two seasons, Los Angeles had to move on after the team blew a 27-0 lead to the Jaguars in the postseason. Lombardi has a connection to Terry Fontenot from their time spent in New Orleans, where he was the Saints quarterbacks coach.
There is no shortage of options, particularly for those looking to develop a young quarterback in Desmond Ridder. We’ll see what the Falcons will do.
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