Top Defensive Coordinator Candidates for Atlanta Falcons in 2023

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The Falcons will be in the market for a new defensive coordinator following the news of Dean Pees’ retirement. The veteran coach will hang up his whistle for the third and probably the last time. Now, Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot will look to fill the void. The Falcons have arguably the least talented defense in the league, so I’m not sure how attractive the position is for potential candidates. Still, there is plenty of cap space to improve the defense. Let’s run through some potential candidates.

Frank Bush

Bush took over for Pees during the Saints matchup when the former defensive coordinator was hospitalized following a collision on the field during pregame warm-ups. He impressed during that stint. It would make sense as an in-house hire. He’s also an experienced candidate. Bush was the defensive coordinator in Houston from 2009 to 2010, as well as the interim in New York for the Jets during the 2020 campaign. It wouldn’t be the sexiest hire, but Arthur Smith rarely hires people without a connection to him.

Ted Monachino

Monachino is another internal candidate who has spent some time as a defensive coordinator. He spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the Colts coordinating the defense and is extremely familiar with Dean Pees’ system. If Arthur Smith wanted continuity at the position, Monachino makes a ton of sense.

Ejiro Evero

The defensive coordinator of the Broncos might not be kept around in Denver, depending on how the new head coach sees the situation. He’s highly regarded around the NFL, spending time under coaches like Vic Fangio, Dom Capers, Wade Phillips, and Monte Kiffin. His defense in Denver was arguably the best unit in football, and Evero wisely lets his players dictate his scheme. The Broncos have far superior personnel than the Falcons, but hopefully, that changes this offseason.

Mike Zimmer

I’m unsure if Zimmer is even looking to get back into the NFL. He’s 66 years old and took a consulting gig at Jackson State University following his firing. But if he is interested, the Falcons would be wise to consider him for the defensive coordinator position. He led some impressive defenses in Minnesota and could provide a similar veteran oversight that Dean Pees did.

Jim Schwartz

He’s been with the Titans for over a decade and is as experienced as any coach in this league, entering his 30th season in the NFL. He spent eight years as the defensive coordinator with the Titans, then another stint in the same role from 2016 to 2020 with the Eagles, one of the best defenses in football during that time. He’s got a connection to Arthur Smith and can adapt his scheme to the personnel.

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