Falcons hire Mike Nolan

The Atlanta Falcons have filled both of their coordinator vacancies, hiring Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator and Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator. Nolan replaces Brian VanGorder, who went to Auburn, and Koetter replaces new Jacksonville Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey. Nolan is a 3-4 disciple, but has also coached 4-3 defenses in the past

"Their ability to be totally objective, cold-hearted and unemotional about the young men that we have on the roster [should be an asset]," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. "Bring in some folks that will be able to give us maybe some new perspective, maybe some different perspective not only on team questions, but on player issues that we may have as well."

The Falcons ranked 20th in passing defense last season.

"Moving forward, this defense needs to continue its growth and evolution as a passionate and fiery defense, one that is going to fly to the football, disrupt, be opportunistic and capitalized on opportunities to turn the game around; flip the game in critical situations," general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "We'll look for a coordinator who will help coach Smith and his approach to putting that type of aggressive defense on the field."

Nolan has been a defensive coordinator for 14 years and was once the San Francisco 49ers' head coach.

He coached the Miami Dolphins' defense for the past two seasons with them finished third against the run last season and sixth in scoring defense.

"Mike Nolan is an established coordinator in this League," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "He brings more than 25 years of NFL experience to our team and has been a coordinator at this level for 14 years. Mike has a history of developing physically intimidating defensive units, and we are fortunate to have him join our staff."

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