Falcons hire Ryan Nielsen as their Defensive Coordinator, part ways with other defensive coaches

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After Dean Pees’ retirement, the Falcons had a big void to fill. Pees never got Atlanta’s defense to respectability, but he was still a savvy guy to have around. Vic Fangio and Brian Flores were two exciting names that had been floated, but it looks like the Falcons landed on Saints co-Defensive Coordinator Ryan Nielsen:

The Saints have always had a solid defense, but they’ve also had a pretty good roster in that timespan. Here’s what the Falcons official release had to say:

The Saints defensive front has been one of the league’s best for the last decade. Since Nielsen joined the Saints staff in 2017, New Orleans has recorded 281 sacks – that’s the second most in the NFL over that span – and finished in the top 10 in sacks in five of the last six seasons.

Also, during Nielsen’s time in New Orleans from 2017 to 2020, the Saints put together 55 regular season and postseason games without allowing a 100-yard rusher.

In other news, the Falcons have reportedly parted ways with defensive line coach Gary Emanuel, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino and secondary coach Jon Hoke.

I’m fine with all of that; there isn’t anyone in the building that I’m married to. We’ll see what Nielsen can do in Atlanta and if the Falcons can finally field a competent defense.

Photographer: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

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