Falcons hire Ryan Nielsen as defensive coordinator
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Falcons have named Ryan Nielsen as their next defensive coordinator.
Nielsen was the co-defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints last season with Dennis Allen and had been with the Falcons’ division rival since 2017. The Saints put up stellar numbers during his tenure; their 281 sacks are the second most in the NFL since 2017. From 2017 to 2020, the Saints prevented 100-yard rushing games 55 times.
With Nielsen running the defense, the Saints are the only team to rank in the top three in opponents rushing yards per game and total sacks during his six years on the staff.
The Falcons had the 23rd-best defense in the NFL last season by points allowed. The Saints had the ninth-best.
Nielsen replaces Dean Pees, who is retiring.
The Falcons also let go defensive line coach Gary Emanuel, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino and secondary coach Jon Hoke.
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