Dave Atkins (American football)
May 18, 1949 |
|Career NFL statistics|
After Atkins finished his pro playing career, he moved into coaching. He had spells as offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals and was the senior offensive assistant coach for the Cleveland Browns for two seasons, 2005 - 2007.
A longtime assistant coach, usually coaching running backs, he had various success coaching skill position players and coordinating offenses. 1986 RB Keith Byars ran for 577 yards with 1 TD. In 1987, Byars and FB Anthony Toney would combine to run for 899 yards with 8 TD. In 1988, the same duo would combine for 1,019 yards and 10 TD on the ground. In 1989, the tandem of Byars & Toney would be even better running for 1,034 yards and 8 TD. In 1990, RB/FB Heath Sherman took over for Byars and his combination with Toney ran for 1,137 yards and 2 TD. In 1992, Atkins took over the tight ends and helped Pat Beach into a solid run blocker as the team helped Herschel Walker and Heath Sherman run for a combined 1,653 yards.
The next year, Atkins would go to the Arizona Cardinals as their Offensive Coordinator. Despite some struggles in 1994, quarterbacks Steve Beuerlein and Jay Schroeder combined to throw for 3,055 yards with 9 TD. FB Larry Centers had 647 yards receiving. The offense improved in 1995 with quarterback Dave Krieg throwing for 3,554 yards and 16 TD. RB Garrison Hearst also ran for 1,070 yards with 1 TD and 3 players: Larry Centers, Rob Moore, and Frank Sanders finished with over 880 yards receiving.
Returning to the New Orleans Saints in 2000, Atkins would be instrumental in the development of Ricky Williams in 2000 & 2001 (1,000 yards and 8 TD then 1,245 yards and 6 TD) and Deuce McAllister in 2002-2004 (4,103 yards and 30 TD on the ground over that 3-year span).