Posted: 7:21 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013
By Michael Cunningham
FLOWERY BRANCH – While it appears that Boise State has zeroed in on Falcons’ offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, Atlanta’s defensive coordinator Mike Nolan declined to say whether he plans to return in 2013.
The Falcons’ defense has been worse than its offense. Nolan has run the defense for seven different NFL teams since 1993.
“That’s the team’s decision, not mine. So that’s a question for later,” Nolan said.
If Koetter and Nolan are not back and head coach Mike Smith is retained, he would have his third set of coordinators. Koetter and Nolan followed Mike Mularkey and Brian VanGorder and have been in place for the past two seasons.
The Falcons’ defense has been hit by injuries even harder than the offense in 2013. As the losses have piled up, the team has played rookies more regularly.
On defense in Sunday’s 22-21 defeat at Green Bay, linebackers Paul Worrilow (71 snaps, 100 percent) and Joplo Bartu (25, 35 percent), defensive ends Malliciah Goodman (25, 35 percent) and Stansly Maponga (15, 21 percent), cornerbacks Desmond Trufant (71, 100 percent) and Robert Alford (71, 100 percent) and safety Zeke Motta (53, 75 percent) were rookies who all played major snaps.
Nolan said one positive for the season has been identifying unknown rookie talent such as Worrilow and Bartu, who both were signed as undrafted college free agents. Nolan said he also liked some of the schemes he came up with this year, even if the results didn’t show it.
“So going down the road, there are some things we did that we will be able to utilize in the future,” Nolan said. “And maybe it’s good they didn’t go so well because other people won’t be expecting us to use them, thinking, ‘Well, that couldn’t be anything they want to carry over.’”
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