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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Falcons' O-line coach Boudreau is out

By Pat Yasinskas

The Atlanta Falcons just sent out a very short release announcing offensive line coach Paul Boudreau is leaving the team.

“We would like to thank Coach Boudreau for his contributions to our team over the past four seasons, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” coach Mike Smith said.

Consider Boudreau another scapegoat for a team that went 10-6 in the regular season, after going 13-3 last year, and got bounced in the first round of the playoffs.

Boudreau joined the Falcons in 2008 and, for his first three seasons, I thought he was one of the best offensive line coaches in the league. He got a unit that didn’t have a lot of high draft picks to overachieve.

But Atlanta’s offensive line suffered a noticeable drop-off in 2011. Left tackle Sam Baker and center Todd McClure were banged up early. Baker struggled mightily and eventually lost his job to journeyman Will Svitek. The Falcons also let Harvey Dahl go in free agency and, at first, replaced him with Garrett Reynolds. But Reynolds played his way out of the lineup and was replaced by Joe Hawley.

Atlanta’s pass protection struggled early in the season, and that was a big reason why the Falcons weren’t as successful in the deep passing game as they had hoped. The Falcons hired new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter on Sunday, and it's likely he'll have a big say in hiring the next offensive line coach.