The hiring of Mike Nolan by the Atlanta Falcons has made many fans happy, especially in Atlanta, and it's made a lot of fans extremely unhappy, especially in Miami. Nolan coached the Dolphins defense to a No. 6 ranking in 2010 and a No. 15 ranking in 2011. The Falcons, who lost their defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder to Auburn, got a proven coach.
Falcons fans seem to be satisfied with the hire. The Falcoholic's Dave Choate wrote on Wednesday that he was "thrilled" with the hire.
I like this move on more than one level. The Falcons talked about making changes, and simply hiring Nolan ensures the defense will have a vastly different look and feel in 2012. Nolan has an established track record of improving defenses and has a knack for getting huge effort and production out of the players he coaches. He'll also fit in with the current coaching staff nicely, having worked with Smitty in Baltimore and being the kind of intelligent, quiet guy this franchise favors. Above all, he's just a damn good coordinator.
Many NFL writers share Choate's views. The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution's Mark Bradley believes that it was a great move as well.
As for Nolan: He was one of the two hottest DCs on the market, Steve Spagnuolo being the other. Nolan could have had his pick of jobs. He picked this one. That’s another good sign, and one very productive day.
And this from ESPN's Pat Yasinkas:
I think it’s fair to say Nolan is an upgrade over former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who left to become defensive coordinator at Auburn. Through most of Smith’s tenure, VanGorder’s defenses weren’t great, although the Falcons improved somewhat on that side of the ball in 2011.
Not everybody is happy, though, especially Dolphins fans. James Walker, ESPN's AFC East blogger, believes that it was a big loss for the Dolphins.
I think this is a big loss for the Dolphins. Nolan may have been the best coach on Miami's staff this past season. Miami's defense was very tough against the run and came on strong late in the year. Nolan's success was one of the biggest reasons the Dolphins were competitive in the second half of the season.
And some members of The Phinsider, SB Nation's Dolphins blog, would agree with Walker..... in different words.
From user Sharkz-n-Phinz:
Where's the damn unlike button....
I hate this. I really liked Nolan. Hopefully this will push us to a 4-3 now with our next DC.
And from FinHead83:
People shouldn't be so surprised.
I know many wanted Nolan to return as DC, but really, everyone knew it was unlikely he’d come back with a new regime change. It just hardly ever works out that way. It sucks to realize he’s gone, but we knew he was most likely gone the day Sparano was fired. Nolan is exactly what Atlanta needs and it’ll be interesting to watch their defense grow under Nolan, especially since they’ll most likely convert to a base 3-4 defense. Good luck Mike Nolan. You were one of the few, if not the only, well liked coach in Miami for the past several years. At least it’s nice to see a coach go on good terms…