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Blog Entry

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

Posted on: January 13, 2012 11:19 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 11:20 pm
Atlanta head coach Mike Smith is looking for more consistency from his team. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Falcons lost their offensive and defensive coordinators are consecutive days last week. Mike Mularkey was announced as the Jaguars' new head coach on Tuesday and the day before, Brian VanGorder bolted Atlanta to take the same job with the Auburn Tigers.

Given how the Falcons' season ended -- managing just two points and watching their third-ranked run defense get treaded by Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw in a punchless wild-card loss to the Giants -- it's probably best that Mularkey and VanGorder got other gigs because there's a chance they may have been relieved of their duties.

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Whatever the speculation, the reality is this: the Falcons are looking to fill two very important positions for a team that owner Arthur Blank admits has some work to do to be considered elite.

“We’re on the door, we’re knocking, but we’re on the other side of the door,” he said Thursday according to Rapid Reporter Knox Bardeen.

As for potential candidates, we've already mentioned the organization is reportedly looking at Brian Schottenheimer and Brian Billick to replace Mularkey. The former doesn't exactly evoke images of a high-powered aerial assault.  And neither does the latter, frankly, although Billick had great success as a coordinator in the late '90s with the Vikings when he wasn't responsible for drafting and developing the quarterback. That's the case in Atlanta too, so maybe that's a good sign … except, as's Josh Katzowitz points out, Billick may be too rich for the Falcons' taste.

On the other side of the ball, more encouraging news: the team is reportedly interested in Steve Spagnuolo, the recently fired Rams coach, and Mike Nolan, the former 49ers head coach who also served as a defensive coordinator with the Ravens, Broncos and most recently the Dolphins.

“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 according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. “We’ll look for a coordinator who will [aid] Coach Smith and his approach to putting that type of aggressive defense on the field.”

Spagnuolo may have been mostly unimpressive during his three years in St. Louis, but he was the architect behind the Giants' defensive game plan to stop the Patriots' explosive offense in Super Bowl XLII. Ledbetter adds that "Nolan is considered a 3-4 coach. But [Falcons head coach Mike] Smith’s respect him from their days together in Baltimore runs deep. They could likely mold the principles of Nolan’s 3-4 with Smith’s 4-3 if necessary."

Another guy Smith's close to? Jack Del Rio; the two worked together in Baltimore and Jacksonville, but apparently there are no plans for a reunion in Atlanta.

Here's to hoping that whoever the Falcons hire they instill in the players a sense of consistency. Because to hear Smith tell it, that was lacking this season.

“There was inconsistency in our focus, there was inconsistency in our will to play and inconsistency in our enthusiasm," he said.

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Since: Dec 5, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 9:49 pm

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

I think Spagnuolo would be a good man for the job , hope he gets it.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2012 2:58 pm

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

Mike Nolan wasn't much of a head coach for the 49ers, but he did well coaching the Ravens and leading the Broncos and Dolphins defense. The guy is underrated as a defensive coordinator and he is a major upgrade over what the Falcons had the previous years. 

Since: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:28 pm

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

spags wont get his hey day was 4 years ago

Since: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:25 pm

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

spagnulo had his chance        they should stick with smith

Since: Aug 22, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:23 pm

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

How about new blood?  The Pack's DB coach Perry is a former SB player (Steelers), DB coach for Cowher and Tomlin and now McCarthy, where he won his 2nd SB ring coaching a set of solid DBs.

Sometimes these owners get brain cramps when it comes to the most important personnell decision. These recycled candidates must have one a hell of a powerpoint presentation!

Since: Jul 14, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:15 am

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

I like the Nolan idea coming to tow. I was also glad that Mularkey is out of town. I think we neee to get back to falcon football, run first offense.  We are not the Pats, Saints or Packers.  We just need a better Def in stopping these guys. 

Since: Dec 19, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 10:51 am

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

I think the Falcons can do better...Keep looking there's a lot of good, experienced, quality coaches out there. It seems to me the Falcons don't want to pay up to be a contender.

Since: Mar 29, 2009
Posted on: January 14, 2012 8:15 am

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

Anybody would be better than what we had as long as they are creative and aggressive. That was the problem with the Falcons. The defense didn't get pressure and the offense was predictable.

Since: Nov 15, 2009
Posted on: January 14, 2012 5:40 am

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

I like Nolan but I hope the Falcons can find a offensive coach that will decide to run or let Matt, Julio and roddy go wild. Nolan will run a good defense, he is a hell of a coach.

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