With Thursday’s firing of head coach Mike Mularkey, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in the market for a new head coach. While some teams, like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns, have started filling their vacancies, the Jaguars are just beginning. Potential candidates range, but the proposed emphasis seems to be on offensive coordinators. Here we’ll look at a candidate you may not be familiar with: Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.
New Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell, coming fresh from the Falcons, is familiar with the work of Armstrong after his role as special teams coordinator since 2008. Caldwell’s familiarity with Mularkey, the ex-Falcons OC, did not stop him from firing him in favor of a fresh start, so it is nice to see Caldwell returning to the Mike Smith coaching pool he is familiar with. For a coaching search that is potentially going to be mired in people that Caldwell knows, like San Francisco 49ers OC Greg Roman, it is curious to see if there is more to the approach than past connections.
With Armstrong, his body of work does promote him as a strong candidate. Armstrong has spent significant time as the special teams coordinator with the Falcons, Miami Dolphins, and the Chicago Bears. Prior to moving to special teams, he coaches the secondary and safeties for the Atlanta Falcons after he jumped up from the college ranks. He has been coaching continuously in the NFL since 1994.
In order for Armstrong to be interviewed the Jaguars will have to wait until after the Falcons are bounced from the playoffs, or until the week off between the conference championship game and the Super Bowl. Armstrong, as a black candidate, fulfills the Jaguars’ responsibility to the “Rooney Rule” of interviewing a minority candidate.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims