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Arthur Smith adds four more coaches to Falcons staff

As Smith goes about building out his staff in Atlanta, he's added four more assistants to the group

The Atlanta Falcons have named Gary Emanuel as defensive line coach, Steve Hoffman as a senior assistant, Justin Peelle as tight ends coach and Matt Pees as a defensive assistant.

Emanuel brings 38 seasons of coaching experience, including 10 seasons in the NFL with him to Atlanta, having most recently served as the defensive line coach for the New York Giants from 2018-19. During his time in New York, Giants defensive end Markus Golden recorded 10 sacks in 2019 becoming the first New York Giant to record double-digit sacks in a season since 2014, while rookie defensive lineman B.J. Hill set the franchise record for the most sacks by a rookie with 5.5 in 2018.


Emanuel spent six seasons (2012-17) in Indianapolis as the Colts' defensive line coach. During his time in Indianapolis, the Colts won three division titles and appeared in one AFC Championship Game. Before joining the Colts, Emanuel coached the defensive line and was a co-defensive coordinator at Purdue in 2010. He was instrumental in developing first-team All-America defensive lineman Ryan Kerrigan, who led the nation in tackles for loss, led the conference in sacks and earned Big Ten Defensive Player and Lineman of the Year honors, as well as becoming the first unanimous All-America recognition by a Boilermaker defender in school history in 2010.

Hoffman has 28 years of NFL coaching experience, having entered the NFL in 1989 as the kicking coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He would spend 16 seasons in Dallas where his specialists set 15 franchise records. He contributed to three world championships as the Cowboys won Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII and XXX. In addition to his special teams role, Hoffman also served as the offensive/defensive quality control coach from 1989-95, offensive quality control coach from 1996-99 and defensive quality control coach from 2000-04.

Hoffman most recently served as the special teams coordinator for the Tennessee Titans in 2017 when Titans punter Brett Kern led the NFL in net punting average (44.6) and gross punting average (49.7) and earned his first-career Pro Bowl nod. He also served as the special teams coordinator for the Oakland Raiders (2012) and Kansas City Chiefs (2009-11), and spent the 2006 season as an assistant special teams coach for the Falcons.

Peelle joins the Falcons having served as the tight ends coach for the Philadelphia Eagles for the past six seasons. Peelle played a large role in the development of three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, who recorded 525 receptions over his first seven seasons, the most receptions through a tight end's first seven seasons in NFL history. Ertz, who caught the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl LII, also owns the single-season receptions record (116 in 2018) by a tight end in league history.

Under Peelle's tutelage, Philadelphia's tight ends recorded the most receptions (417) and receiving yards (4,388) of any team in the NFL over the past three seasons.

Originally selected by the San Diego Chargers in the fourth round of the 2002 NFL Draft, Peelle played in the NFL for 10 seasons with the Chargers (2002-05), Miami Dolphins (2006-07), Atlanta Falcons (2008-10) and San Francisco 49ers (2011) and recorded 123 receptions for 1,003 yards and 12 touchdowns in 151 career games.

The 2021 season will mark Pees' third year in the NFL having spent two seasons (2017-18) as a defensive assistant and quality control coach for the Tennessee Titans where he worked with the defensive line.

Pees has seven years of high school football coaching experience and most recently served as the head football coach at Findlay High School in Ohio in 2020.

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