The Falcons will need a new running backs coach.
Desmond Kitchings has left the team to become the University of Virginia's offensive coordinator, head coach Arthur Smith announced during his Monday press conference.
Smith said Kitchings was allowed to leave the team immediately, and the running backs will be coached by committee heading into Sunday's regular season finale.
- Matt Ryan breaks down taunting penalty and overturned touchdown run vs. Buffalo Bills
- 'We had chances': Kyle Pitts, Hayden Hurst absence felt in loss to Bills
- Missing weapons, shifting priorities after Falcons loss to Buffalo: Inside Tori's Notebook
- A key area the Falcons must improve to reach postseason goals in 2022
"He's a smart coach," Smith said. "He communicates well and understands how to provide value every week, coming up with ideas and getting his guys ready to go. He'll be missed around here, but it's one heck of an opportunity for him."
Kitchings joined Smith's new staff in 2021, his first NFL gig after a career spent in the college ranks. He has mostly been a running backs coach in college, though he was co-offensive coordinator at Vanderbilt in 2010 and at N.C. State in 2019.
Kitchings helped develop Cordarrelle Patterson as a running back, playing an important role in the career receiver's improvement as a rusher. The Falcons improved running the ball as the season progressed, working with Patterson, Mike Davis and Qadree Ollison.