Falcons Offseason: Free Agency Underway

Now that the Falcons have their coordinators picked out, attention turns to free agency as the NFL Draft nears. Head over here for Falcons free agency news. There's no room here!

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Mike Nolan Hired As Atlanta Falcons Defensive Coordinator

The Atlanta Falcons announced Tuesday that they've got a new defensive coordinator: former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan. This was somewhat expected, as the hunt had appeared to come down to either Nolan or former St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, who's also reportedly being targeted by the Saints and Eagles.

Nolan is best known as the guy who got the NFL to let him wear suits on the sidelines while coaching the Niners. Well, maybe not really, but he is that guy. He also coached the Baltimore Ravens defense from 2002 through 2004, but he's kind of bounced around a lot.

He was heralded in 2009 as the Broncos DC, but was let go by Josh McDaniel and took over the Dolphins defense. He's also coached the Jets, Redskins and Giants defenses, never really staying at any one gig for a lengthy period of time.

We'll look deeper into his background shortly, including the question of whether the Falcons may attempt a shift at some point to a 3-4 system, but there's the hire.

For more on the Atlanta Falcons, check out Falcons blog The Falcoholic. For more on the NFL Playoffs and everything NFL, go to SBNation.com's NFL news hub.

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Atlanta Falcons Reportedly Name Dirk Koetter As New Offensive Coordinator

According to a report by ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Atlanta Falcons have hired former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to replace Mike Mularkey.

Koetter has served as Jaguar's offensive coordinator since 2007 and was mentioned for a number of job openings the season. Jacksonville had one of the worst offenses in the NFL this season but didn't have a lot of weapons other than running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

Other names rumored to be involved in the Falcons offensive coordinator search were former Jets coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. Koetter had also been rumored to have received interest from Kansas in their head coaching search and from Alabama for its offensive coordinator position.

For more on the Atlanta Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For more on the NFL Playoffs and everything NFL, go to SB Nation's NFL page.

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Mike Mularkey To Be Hired As Jacksonville Jaguars Coach, According To Report

If you polled Atlanta Falcons fans (and maybe even players) on the No. 1 change the team needs to make in the offseason, I'm confident that hiring a new offensive coordinator would be the top result. For what it's worth, it appears Falcons fans are about to get their wish.

We'd known for a while now that OC Mike Mularkey had an interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars scheduled for this week. According to one report by Florida Times-Union Jags beat writer Tania Ganguli, everything went well, and Mularkey has accepted the job.

Mularkey would become the third head coach in Jags history, succeeding Jack Del Rio and Tom Coughlin. He did have a winning season in his two years as Bills coach (2004, 2005), and may actually be a better head coach than coordinator.

He's been praised for helping Matt Ryan develop into a fine young quarterback, but seeing the talented Falcons offense get shut out in a playoff game was likely the last straw for any Falcons fan still on the fence.

(Interesting to note Del Rio is considered a candidate to replace Brian VanGorder as Atlanta's defensive coordinator. The old switcheroo.)

For more on the Atlanta Falcons, be sure to visit Falcons blog The Falcoholic. For news and updates around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Brian VanGorder Takes Job As Auburn DC

After a second consecutive disappointing showing in the playoffs, the shake-ups on the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff have already begun, with Mike Smith announcing Monday that defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is moving back to the college ranks and taking the newly open DC job at Auburn:

Smitty starts presser announcing that Brian VanGorder has accepted the DC job at Auburn University.

VanGorder came to the Falcons in 2007 as a linebackers coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2008.

Atlanta's defense was rated 20th in the NFL against the pass and 6th against the run, giving up an average of 22 points a game this season.

The 52-year old coach has extensive experience in the college game, having served as the defensive coordinator at Georgia from 2001-2004, where he won the Frank Broyles Award for the nation's top assistant coach in 2002.

Smith gave no indication as to what direction he'd like to go in replacing VanGorder.

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An Atlanta Falcons Season Recap, Or Big Problems With No Quick Fixes

With their 24-2 playoff loss to the New York Giants, Falcons' season is over. Both Mike Smith and Matt Ryan, now 0-3 in the playoffs, will look to head back to the drawing board and determine how to improve into 2012 and beyond. But as far as the 2011 Falcons go, a closer look reveals that playoff failure was an inevitability.

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