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Team: Atlanta Falcons
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Falcons signed defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to a multi-year extension.
Falcons brass is giving Nolan a pass for his unit's poor 2013 statistical performance, as Atlanta allowed the fifth most yards and sixth most points in football. They believe in Nolan as a football coach, and his track record speaks for itself. The Falcons need more talent on defense, and that's no secret. They were also dealt enormous in-season blows with injuries to DE/LB Kroy Biermann and WLB Sean Weatherspoon, among others. Atlanta's top offseason priority must be to acquire a true franchise pass rusher. Osi Umenyiora doesn't have enough left to paper that hole over anymore. Sun, Dec 29, 2013 10:31:00 PM

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According to SI's Peter King, the Falcons are trying to trade up from No. 30 in the first round of the draft.

Thomas Dimitroff is annually one of the most aggressive general managers on draft day, especially when there's a player he wants -- such as Julio Jones in 2011. This year, the Falcons have holes at cornerback and pass rusher. They'd have to really reach to get into the Dee Milliner range, but Florida State's Xavier Rhodes or Washington's Desmond Trufant could be realistic. A darkhorse name to watch is Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert as the Falcons look toward the post-Tony Gonzalez era. Note that Dimitroff has 11 total picks to work with.
Wed, Apr 17, 2013 12:52:00 PM

Falcons DC Mike Nolan told Jay Glazer of FOX Sports that he would only leave Atlanta for the "right" head coaching opportunity.

Because of his tight relationship with GM Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith, Nolan will not "jump at just anything" to become a head coach. Much like Bengals OC Jay Gruden, Nolan is "flattered" by the interest from a team such as the Eagles, but he may have interviewed half-heartedly.
Sun, Jan 13, 2013 01:18:00 PM

Falcons hired ex-Dolphins DC Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator.

Atlanta won't be getting into a bidding war for Steve Spagnuolo after all, though the former Rams coach added the Colts to the mix with an interview on Monday. Nolan has overseen a shutdown run defense the past two years in Miami, and should be an upgrade on Brian VanGorder. Mike Smith, who coached with Nolan in Baltimore a decade ago, is reportedly amenable to incorporating 3-4 elements into his defensive scheme, though the Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirms the Falcons will continue to run a 4-3.
Tue, Jan 17, 2012 03:03:00 PM

Dolphins DC Mike Nolan has joined Steve Spagnuolo atop the Falcons' wish list at defensive coordinator.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes the Falcons think highly enough of Spags to "get into a bidding war" with the Eagles for his services. Coach Mike Smith reportedly has enough respect for Nolan from their days together in Baltimore that he'd be willing to incorporate some 3-4 elements into his defense. Though he's in limbo, Nolan is still under contract with the Dolphins for now.
Fri, Jan 13, 2012 08:37:00 AM

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Falcons would "love" to land ex-Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator.

Spags is expected to meet with Andy Reid within a week. If the Eagles end up keeping Juan Castillo, though, Atlanta could move to the front of the line. The Falcons have also been tangentially connected to Jack Del Rio, Mike Nolan, and Raheem Morris.
Wed, Jan 11, 2012 09:38:00 AM

Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder has accepted the same position at the University of Auburn.

After back-to-back playoff collapses, it's fair to wonder if VanGorder saw the writing on the wall in Atlanta. VanGorder, 52, was an obvious candidate to be scapegoated for the losses, even though he was working "under" defensive-minded head coach Mike Smith. VanGorder spent four seasons as Atlanta's defensive coordinator after coaching linebackers for the team in 2007. He has an extensive history coaching at the college level, as well.
Mon, Jan 9, 2012 02:50:00 PM

Falcons coach Mike Smith had to be ushered off the team flight home Sunday night, and was taken to a Charlotte hospital to be treated for chest pains.

The Falcons insist Smith did not have a heart attack. Per SI's Peter King, GM Thomas Dimitroff was "very optimistic" Sunday night that Smith's condition is not dire, but it's worth wondering if he'll coach next week. "Everything came out negative with the tests," Dimitroff said. "Mike is in good spirits."
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 10:11:00 PM

Falcons signed head coach Mike Smith to a three-year extension.

Though Smith has yet to win a playoff game, he's racked up 33 regular season wins compared to just 15 losses in three years on the job and was entering a contract season. His record is easily the best in franchise history for a coach in his first three years. Smith took home Sporting News NFL Coach of the Year honors in 2010. Oddly, he received just one of 50 votes for Associated Press Coach of the Year.
Thu, Feb 3, 2011 10:48:00 AM

In addition to coach Mike Smith, the Falcons also reportedly plan to sign GM Thomas Dimitroff to a multi-year extension.

The Falcons have graduated to one of the NFL's steadiest franchises under the guidance of Smith and Dimitroff. Owner Arthur Blank is smart to lock up the duo after they steered the Falcons to the second-best record in the NFL in 2010 and a 33-15 record in three seasons.
Sun, Jan 30, 2011 09:29:00 PM

A source tells D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Falcons head coach Mike Smith will get a contract extension this offseason.

An extension is reportedly the team's "first order of business." Smith has one year remaining on a four year contract he signed in 2008 for between $8 and $10 million. He should see a sizable raise, likely around $4.5 million per year.
Sat, Jan 1, 2011 01:57:00 PM

Falcons hired former Seahawks DBs coach Tim Lewis for the same position in Atlanta.

He replaces Emmitt Thomas, who was let go after the Falcons ranked a disappointing 28th against the pass in 2009. Lewis has experience as s coordinator from 2000-2006 with the Steelers and the Giants.
Tue, Jan 26, 2010 07:36:00 PM

The Associated Press named Mike Smith of the Falcons as 2008's NFL Coach of the Year.

Tony Sparano, who Smith edged out by just one vote, was probably more deserving for taking over a 1-15 team, but Atlanta after the Michael Vick situation was a bit more high profile. While Bobby Petrino left a respectable passing offense in place, Smith and Michael Turner helped turn the Falcons' rushing offense from the NFL's 26th-best unit in 2007 to the No. 2 attack in 2008. A defensive-minded coach, Smith's offseason focus needs to be on his side of the ball. The secondary and front seven were much too leaky for Atlanta to be competitive deep into the postseason this year.
Sun, Jan 4, 2009 12:06:00 PM

The Browns have received permission to interview Falcons president Rich McKay regarding their GM opening.

McKay lost a ton of power in Atlanta last offseason when owner Arthur Blank hired GM Tom Dimitroff and would likely be more than happy to leave. He still has the Michael Vick incident working against him, however, and probably isn't a serious candidate in Cleveland. They should be able to do better.
Tue, Dec 30, 2008 06:28:00 PM

Falcons named former LBs coach Brian VanGorder defensive coordinator and former DBs coach Emmitt Thomas assistant head coach.

Atlanta also announced that QBs coach Bill Musgrave, who's done a nice job with Chris Redman, will be retained. VanGorder, 48, knows new head coach Mike Smith from their days together in Jacksonville. He's mostly worked in the college ranks with mixed results. The Falcons will now pursue an offensive coordinator.
Thu, Jan 24, 2008 05:52:00 PM

Depth Charts

Skill Players
PosRoleName
QB1Matt Ryan
2T.J. Yates
3Sean Renfree
RB1Steven Jackson
2Jacquizz Rodgers
3Antone Smith
4Devonta Freeman
GLB1Steven Jackson
2Jacquizz Rodgers
3RB1Jacquizz Rodgers
2Steven Jackson
FB1Patrick DiMarco
WR11Julio Jones
2Devin Hester
3Courtney Roby
4Drew Davis
WR21Roddy White
2Harry Douglas
3Eric Weems
WR31Harry Douglas
TE1Levine Toilolo
2Bear Pascoe
K1Matt Bryant