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Monday, January 30, 2012
Falcons may stay within team for QB coach

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

The Atlanta Falcons may stay within the organization when they fill their vacancy at quarterbacks coach. Glenn Thomas is a leading candidate for that role, D. Orlando Ledbetter reports.

It makes plenty of sense. Thomas, 34, has been an offensive quality-control coach for the Falcons since the arrival of coach Mike Smith in 2008. He obviously has to know quarterback Matt Ryan pretty well.

The Falcons lost quarterbacks coach Bob Bratkowski, who became the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville when former Atlanta coordinator Mike Mularkey became the Jaguars' head coach earlier in January.

Bratkowski spent only the 2011 season with the Falcons. He replaced Bill Musgrave, who had been Ryan’s quarterbacks coach in his first three seasons. Musgrave left after last season to become offensive coordinator in Minnesota.

Former Jacksonville coordinator Dirk Koetter has been hired as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator. Koetter obviously will bring some subtle changes to Atlanta’s offense. But promoting Thomas to quarterbacks coach could provide some familiarity and continuity for Ryan.

Smith is a coach who believes in loyalty and promoting Thomas would illustrate that. It’s also not a bad thing to start moving young coaches up the ladder.

The best example I can give you of that is Mike McCoy. I saw him join the Carolina Panthers as a quality-control assistant under George Seifert. McCoy later worked his way up to quarterbacks coach and he had a strong relationship, and a fair amount of success, with Jake Delhomme.

That success put McCoy on the radar for bigger things and he was hired as Denver’s offensive coordinator in 2009. He was reunited there with former Carolina coach John Fox in 2011 and McCoy largely was credited for the success of Denver quarterback Tim Tebow. That led to McCoy getting several interviews for jobs as a head coach this offseason.