clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Falcons hire 'Spygate' assistant, Packers and Panthers make changes on special teams, and other NFL news

New, comment

Meanwhile, the Colts keep digging through Canada for football talent.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are currently embroiled in a crowd noise controversy. The NFL is investigating the use of artificial crowd noise being pumped into the Georgia Dome, which is prohibited by NFL rules. Owner Arthur Blank has even admitted the "embarrassing" tactic. Given the situation, one would expect the team to avoid further negative attention.

However, according to Fox Sports, new head coach Dan Quinn has hired Steve Scarnecchia, a member of the New England Patriots' video department during the "Spygate" scandal.

Spygate isn't the only controversy that surrounds the Scarnecchia family. In 2010, his son Steve was caught taping an opponent's walkthrough before a game while working for the Denver Broncos. The league fined the Broncos $50,000 for the infraction.

Scarnecchia might offer plenty as a coach, but it's questionable whether a team like the Falcons should hire him when they're trying to move past their own issues with the NFL.

Green Bay expected to promote Ron Zook to special teams coordinator

No team had more blocked kicks than the Green Bay Packers in 2014, which also saw their season end in part due to a special teams gaff in the NFC Championship Game. Accordingly, head coach Mike McCarthy made the decision to part with special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum after six years. Now the Packers need to locate a replacement, and it appears they're zeroing in on their guy. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the frontrunner for the position is current assistant Ron Zook.

Usually special teams assistants are anonymous individuals in the eyes of the public, but Zook's previous stints as the head coach of the University of Illinois and the University of Florida have given him notoriety. He has actually worked as a special teams coordinator before, serving in that capacity with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Florida Gators. Whether he can improve one of the league's worst units won't be known for at least another season.

Carolina reassigns Richard Rodgers

The Packers aren't the only team making changes on special teams. The Carolina Panthers finished near the bottom of every significant special teams category in 2014. While they won a playoff berth, they see this is an area they need to improve in order to compete for a championship. As such, coordinator Richard Rodgers has been reassigned by head coach Ron Rivera, per a report by the Charlotte Observer.

The report goes on to say that Rodgers' assistant, Bruce DeHaven, is expected to replace him as the team's special teams coordinator. Rodgers has served in that capacity for the past three seasons after a lengthy career in the college ranks. His son, Richard Rodgers II, plays tight end for the Packers. However, it does not appear at this time that the elder Rodgers would be considered for the vacancy in Green Bay.

Indy sign Duron Carter, Ben Heenan out of CFL

The Indianapolis Colts need playmakers and protectors for superstar quarterback Andrew Luck. With free agency still a month away and the draft even further, the team has looked north to find answers. According to ESPN's NFL Nation, the Colts have signed CFL wide receiver Duron Carter and guard Ben Heenan.

Carter is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter. He played most of his college career at Ohio State, but off-the-field issues turned away NFL teams. After a successful stint in Canada where he caught 124 passes for 1,939 yards and 12 touchdowns in two seasons, the Colts were enticed to bring him. As for Heenan, he is a former CFL No. 1 overall pick who has experience at both right guard and right tackle. Both of Indianapolis' starters on the right side of the line ended the season on injured reserve. If Heenan's performance transfers to the NFL, he could provide valuable insurance in case those injuries don't heal in time for training camp.