Video: More changes on the way for Falcons



Who should the Falcons blame for their 24-2 loss to the Giants? CineSport’s Noah Coslov sits with D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC to ask this and find out what other changes will take place as offensive coordinator interviews in Jacksonville today.

Here’s my working list of candidates to replace defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. One thing to keep in mind is that coach Mike Smith pointed out that the team has drafted for a 4-3 defense so you can rule out 3-4 guys.
1. Mike Nolan
2. Steve Spagnuolo
3. Jack Del Rio
4. Raheem Morris
5. Tim Lewis

Even if Mularkey doesn’t land the job in Jacksonville or Miami, the team could move in a different direction on offense. Here’s my working list of candidates to replace Mularkey. Smith said he wants a balanced attack and doesn’t believe you can be one-dimensional.
1. Dirk Koetter
2. Mike Martz
3. Terry Robiskie
4. Rick Neuheisel
5. Brian Billick

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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91 comments Add your comment

Robdawg

January 10th, 2012
11:23 am

haha Jack Del Rio working under Mike Smith??? And i would like to see a new offensive coordinator to try and bring some life into an offense that has plenty of talent

Die Hard Falcon

January 10th, 2012
11:33 am

DLED-

I think Mike Nolan would be a terrific updgrade, but he generally runs a 3-4 scheme everywhere I’ve seen him, would we have to try and convert?
I was looking up our 2012 cap projections and we should have a lot of cap space this year, maybe if the right FA’s were available we could make the switch, plus if we do a new contract for MR2, would we cut cap space or enlarge it?
I don’t see Martz as any better fit here than in Chicago, Mike Smith is a power running idealist not “greatest show on turf”. I really would like Nolan or Spags

Not an Idiot

January 10th, 2012
11:35 am

Dirk Koetter? Are you serious DLed? What makes him #1 on your list? The Jaguars offense has never been good, even before Gabbert. We might as well stick with MM before Koetter.

RetNav

January 10th, 2012
11:35 am

I don’t see any problem with Jack Del Rio working with Mike Smith not so much under. So I would like him. Now I agree that we need an OC big time. We need someone who can improve Ryan and the rest of the Offense. I think Mularkey has taken this offense as far as he can and we need someone not so predictable on play calling. I would like to see Ryan run the no huddle the whole game like Manning does.

JSS

January 10th, 2012
11:36 am

These are all sideways moves!

MaxxFalcon

January 10th, 2012
11:37 am

I would hope that Brian Billick would be 1st on the list of OCs and Spags or Del Rio would be 1st on the list of DCs…Mike Nolan would be good, but that would mean that we would be switching to a 3-4 which would take an adjustment period…you have guys on this list that would be making lateral coordinator moves, which I don’t know if that will happen…If our DC is Tim Lewis and OC is Terry Robiskie, I will be very disappointed, simply because these guys were already here last yr, we need some fresh perspective

PMC

January 10th, 2012
11:41 am

It ain’t gonna be Martz, I can guarantee you that. Martz is a pain to work with and Tony G resigned. Martz despises TE’s.

PMC

January 10th, 2012
11:41 am

JSS, depends on the size of the paycheck doesn’t it?

REF

January 10th, 2012
11:42 am

Spags would be my first choice, his defenses shut down high powered Patriots in 07 and high powered Saints this season. Mike Nolan would be #2, he ran some 4-3 in Baltimore before. For OC, there really isn’t anyone who stands out to me (Mike Mccarty / Sean Payton type level geniuses) but Tom Clements or Mike Martz could make the Falcons into a top 5 offense.

extremus

January 10th, 2012
11:46 am

Some good candidates there to choose from, assuming any of them can be brought to Atlanta. In any case, Blank needs to open up the checkbook and invest in the best coaches he can on both sides of the ball.

JSS

January 10th, 2012
11:48 am

@ PMC…
Indeed, you don’t think Lurie is lurking waiting for Andy Reid to decide exactly how to address his defense once the divisional round ends?

ctfalconsfan

January 10th, 2012
11:48 am

The fact that Mike Smith just said NO to the 3-4 is evidence enough that he isn’t open to change.

I’m a 4-3 guy but playing is this pass happy league, a 3-4 would be a much better option..

- I would agree we drafted for a 4-3 but thank goodness that Jerry is a bust so we should be easily able to change to a 3-4

ctfalconsfan

January 10th, 2012
11:50 am

Also why hasn’t Mularkey been fired?

0 points against the 27th ranked defense.. Am I missing something?

joe white

January 10th, 2012
11:50 am

I would love to see martz here and I know he would use tony for sure, and for defense nolan, del rio or morris. I think raheem got a raw deal.

Greg

January 10th, 2012
11:51 am

OC & DC are surely important. (BTW, I wonder why BvG is leaving. Notice that it isn’t to take a head coaching position anywhere. I always thought BvG did rather well with the talent he was given. I think it’s a loss for the Falcons.) But talent is the main problem (although surely Mularkey must go). I disagree with Mark Bradley’s (and others) constant reference to “all the great talent” we have. Arthur needs to open his wallet and get tested FA’s in here, especially for both lines. But I’m not holding my breath. And I’m not confident that TD is very good at talent-assessment, either. So right now I’m pretty bummed out about my team.

falconsrelax

January 10th, 2012
11:52 am

I love the comments smitty has been making over the last couple of days. He knows murlarkey has to go. Its time to move on, getting julio was the last shot and zero points?? You know your done as a coordinator for this team. People forget that Sean Payton was never a o-coordinator. He was the QB coach for the cowboys. You can find guys at position coaching who can fit the bill. Have to get a good recommendation for them though. But I could see Del Rio coming in and being the d-coordinator. And the reason is because Del Rio more than likely won’t get another HC offer. He isn’t like Jeff fisher. Guys won’t be quick to talk to del rio. THeres not one report of a team asking to interview him for a HC job

PMC

January 10th, 2012
11:53 am

:) JSS you don’t think the Falcons are considering Paul Boudreau for DC do you ;)

falconsrelax

January 10th, 2012
11:53 am

Del Rio knows the scheme and should dumbdown to coordinator. He could happen. Its very realistic. Smitty and Del Rio know each other.

Matty Ice is a coach killer

January 10th, 2012
11:54 am

This team will go nowhere as long as Matt Ryan continues to play like a girl in big games. You can change the OC, DC, HC, o-line, d-line, RB and WR’s. You can’t win in this league with a QB that’s scared to stand in the pocket and get hit, or that is not athletic enough to move out of the pocket and extend the play, or that is scared to throw downfield for fear of throwing a INT.

Die Hard Falcon

January 10th, 2012
11:56 am

Nolan has almost instantly improved every defense when that he goes to, I have heard Spags is almost certainly going back to the NFC East unfortunately and I don’t know that we have a shot. Nolan would be a huge upgrade, but w/o much of a draft, we would have to find FA’s to help us, we definitely don’t have any NT’s on the squad right now and w/ more teams going 3-4, they can be hard to find. If they can get the personnel, there have been a few examples of teams that have made the switch in 1 season w/ success, most recently Houston.

ATLien73

January 10th, 2012
11:59 am

Personally – I’m intrigued by the possibility of Mike Martz as an OC. I think, short of a real pass catching RB, that we have all the tools to really be explosive. Not to mention it fits Matt’s lack of a “cannon.”

As DC – I agree with most that it needs to be someone fresh – aside from Jack Del Rio – which I think would be ok. What about Mike Singletary?

PMC

January 10th, 2012
12:00 pm

I do think the Eagles are going to find a guy who loves to use exotic blitz packages and man up on the outside though.

Loserville USA

January 10th, 2012
12:01 pm

RICK NEUHEISEL? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Did you watch ANY UCLA football games?

Holy cow.

Realfalconfan

January 10th, 2012
12:08 pm

The coaches have lost there players here in Atlanta its time for some solid moves!!

Die Hard Falcon

January 10th, 2012
12:10 pm

I think Brian Billick would be awesome, however, I think it’s not realistic. I believe the only way he comes back to coaching is as a HC. He has plenty of money and a cushy job w/ NFL network, I just don’t imagine he’d come in and be “under” his brother-in-law that he used to be “over”.

Jimmy Crack

January 10th, 2012
12:12 pm

Choices that could do a better job than the present OC:

1. My Dog
2. Any of DOL’s above choices

“Hey, Fido, should we run it up the middle again?”

“Yip!”

Seriously, Smith knows this is make or break for his career but he also knows too much change in philosophy is not good for a one year plan, so he will bring in “family” for this coming season, as in Billick (OC) and Del Rio (DC).

Ex Falcon Fan

January 10th, 2012
12:16 pm

Get rid of Matt Ryan he played awful. 3 times going to playoff he never pass the first round.
Ryan making the Falcon team look bad.

Konehead

January 10th, 2012
12:21 pm

@D-Led… Someone else asked also, but what about Mike Singletary?

True Falcon Fan

January 10th, 2012
12:26 pm

1. Mike Nolan —– Very Loyal / Very good players coach
2. Steve Spagnuolo —- Very Loyal / Very good players coach
3. Jack Del Rio —- Very Loyal / Very good players coach
4. Raheem Morris —- “A VIRUS”
5. Tim Lewis —- Very Loyal / Very good players coach

1. Dirk Koetter —- Very Loyal / Very good players coach
2. Mike Martz —- “A VIRUS”
3. Terry Robiskie —- Very Loyal / Very good players coach
4. Rick Neuheisel —- “A VIRUS”
5. Brian Billick —- Very Loyal / Very good players coach /// But he’s not going backwards!!!

Mountain Man

January 10th, 2012
12:28 pm

O and D lines are clearly problems and in need of serious upgrade. In my opinion neither has been very good for years.

Michael Turner is looking more and more like Craig Hayward when he came to the Falcons. Big bruiser and dangerous enough if he could build up a head of steam, but couldn’t hit the hole with any authority. It seems like if the wind blows hard enough on his ankles, he goes down. If he has to sidestep to select a different hole, forget about it and count it as a loss. Time to part ways with him.

Jury is still out on Ryan. I’d like to see him with a decent pass-protecting line in front of him. Then lets see if he can throw deep. That being said, his accuracy was off this season. That needs to be fixed. If he can’t throw deep, then he better be able to complete short and mid range passes with pinpoint accuracy.

I’m OK with the linebacking corps. Secondary is another issue. Both at corner and safety.

Not sure what we will be able to do this offseason because of the Julio trade. Dimitroff has his work cut out for him.

dukester

January 10th, 2012
12:31 pm

You guys can take it or leave it. Lombardi can come coach this will be the outcome. This guy hit the nail on the head. Sad part is deep down inside 80pct of the bloggers know this to be true but you will die before you call out old Patty Smelt!! Trade that chump and get a 1st round pick for him before its too late Artie!!

Matty Ice is a coach killer

January 10th, 2012
11:54 am
This team will go nowhere as long as Matt Ryan continues to play like a girl in big games. You can change the OC, DC, HC, o-line, d-line, RB and WR’s. You can’t win in this league with a QB that’s scared to stand in the pocket and get hit, or that is not athletic enough to move out of the pocket and extend the play, or that is scared to throw downfield for fear of throwing a INT.

JSS

January 10th, 2012
12:36 pm

I lived with Tim Lewis as a coordinator in Pittsburgh and NYC with Fassell, he’s not the choice…

True Falcon Fan

January 10th, 2012
12:37 pm

Mike Singletary —- Very Loyal / Very good players coach — But probably will not return to coaching, he’s too burned —- “VERY GOOD PERSON!!!

JSS

January 10th, 2012
12:40 pm

@ PMC…
Paul would have been shown the door before VanGorder yesterday!

JSS

January 10th, 2012
12:43 pm

Neuheisel is QB coach for someone who has a Coordinator with an actual offensive identity… He can’t have free rein…

True Falcon Fan

January 10th, 2012
12:45 pm

@12:31 —- Nope won’t happen, you keep dreamin’

True Falcon Fan

January 10th, 2012
12:47 pm

X UCLA — besides the fact he’s a virus —- “he is not a cultural fit with the Falcons” —- won’t happen!!

dukester

January 10th, 2012
12:47 pm

Lets see you guys say we have a bad offensive line. But they produce the leagues 3rd leading rusher and Matt was only sacked 26 times this yr (4th least) the 3 Qbs that was sacked less were not starters they had just enough snaps at QB to be counted. That strikes that down.

Ok next tale. “The defense is sorry” Well they ranked 12 the league!! I would call that average. The saints, packers, patriots would loved to be ranked 12th.

Next lie “receivers drop the ball” Ok we had 25 drops or so as a receiving core this year. How about the catches they make that are poorly thrown and they make circus catches on a wire floating above a pack lions. 2 come to mind. The one Julio made against Indy when he laid out to catch it. And the one Tony G made against Philly to stay in bounds after he tipped it to himself. Acrobatic catches and drops all wash out at the end of year get off it!!

OC mighty funny Jacksonville waited on him to interview him if he is so bad. DC Auburn said yea we want him. Out of all the candidates why do they want our coaching staff!!

Matt Ryan is the problem to this offense he is the leader the motor of this offense. This is a Qb league we have a noodle arm. Chad Pennington Jr and Joey Checkdown Harrington. Take or leave. Trade him Blank get a 1st round pick and lets move on Smitty has them team ready we just a motor in this Porsche!!

True Falcon Fan

January 10th, 2012
12:51 pm

You are probably right-on in regards to T Lewis —- he’s good players coach though!

True Falcon Fan

January 10th, 2012
12:55 pm

@12:47 i see you are still dreamin’

PMC

January 10th, 2012
1:04 pm

I think Spags is going to the Eagles though seriously, I was just refering to Andy Reid going to OL Coach to DC route last year.

Would love to have Del Rio here in Atlanta, I think anyway I don’t really know. I liked Mike Zimmer when he was here before.

I’d at least call Tom Clements about the OC position.

P B Orr

January 10th, 2012
1:06 pm

I say Todd Haley or Mike Martz. Both had very successful offenses with a non-mobile QB backed up by excellent receivers. Martz would have a lineup very similar to the one he had in his ring days with St. Louis. Haley is too spacey for head coach but would be fine with Xs and Os.

PMC

January 10th, 2012
1:07 pm

Dukester, this offensive line could not gain 6 inches when they needed it on about 8 different occasions. Forget stats, this OL couldn’t block ANYONE when they had to. That’s the issue.

The interior of the offensive line especially on the right side is not good. It gets collapsed a lot. Compare what Drew Brees throws behind to the pocket that Matt Ryan has.

Ryan needs to be MUCH MUCH better, but the OL is not remotely talented enough.

Nique

January 10th, 2012
1:12 pm

I don’t like any of those OC names you have, this job is entirely intriguing for us to land a lack luster OC. We should be able to bring in a top name!!! Our O-line is the only hurdle for a OC, & if we let McClure go, move Hawley back over to Center, get a healthy Mike Johnson back, keep Blaylock, & unfortunately Clabbo, then you use your # 2 pick on a RT in the draft. Then you have Garret Reynolds, Andrew Jackson, & Will Svitek as reserves an improved line with decent depth if nothing else. Our line isn’t rough or nasty enough, they get called cheap & dirty, for negative reasons, but they’re not nasty, like feared or dominating. So additionally, we also need a O-Line coach change to go with new O-line players. Let McClure walk & Baker as well! Then on the other side we’re gonna get a new DC, i’d love someone who specializes in the D-Line like spags, our lb’s are good, if Nicholas, who i really don’t like, can stay healthy. Our secondary did a lot better this year, still not where it needs to be, but now that zone coverage is over, i believe we’ll get more out of D. Robinson if th new DC mixes coverage schemes & allows him to press cover, because that’s what he is, a press corner, which ultimately wouldn’t benefit Grimes though, Grimes is also a FA though, now that’s not to say that you go with Robinson over Grimes, but it is to say this new DC’s gonna have a certain philosophy, we’ve invested a lot into Robinson & to get the desired return on out investment, we’re gonna have to allow him to be in press man to man coverage more often, that’s not Grimes forte & Robinson is locked up, paid & not going anywhere, while Grimes is a free agent. Depending on the DC, say Spags, as someone dedicated to bringing pressure, maybe we do a sign & trade with Grimes & get another top notch press corner man to man cb to go alongside of Robinson, or maybe we package Grimes & our # 2 this year & trade to get that established pass rusher to go on the other side of Abe who we HAVE to resign. In this scenario, You either train up Franks to play the # 2 cb position as a press cb, he has the size to do so & did some of this in college, or you go our & get one in free agency & keep Franks as the nickel. In this scenario, you then use your # 3 pick on either a FS or a RT. Just thinking out loud. Either way, just like on the O-Line, we also need a new D-line coach. A nasty guy like Spags was for the G-Men, like Jim Washburn has been for years, Jim Schwartz, or ‘Jim Tomsula.

Die Hard Falcon

January 10th, 2012
1:14 pm

Maybe would could hire Peyton Manning as our OC if he can’t play anymore?

Or we could also get Mooch, he’s got to be bored w/ commenting and speculating.

sainthater

January 10th, 2012
1:35 pm

Brian Billick and Coach Smith are related by marriage so I could see Billick as Offensive Coordinator and Del Rio as Defensive Coordinator.

Birdman of Alcahol

January 10th, 2012
1:39 pm

DOL, the DC names are realistic, the OC not so much. You won’t move the meter with a hire from within (Robiskie) a hire from the Jags Offense. Mike Martz was killed for not using his running game enough early on so he wont fit Smith’s blueprint. Dont know if Billick will take a coordinator role and if Smith wants someone that could challenge his authority on the staff, and SB winning coach can certainly present a challenge to that authority.

Tommy Maddox

January 10th, 2012
1:39 pm

It would appear that there are so many glaring problems on the field and on the sideline, you’d think we were back when the Smith family was running the show.

Birdman of Alcahol

January 10th, 2012
1:52 pm

Tommy Maddox, not true, these problems are limiting us from taking the next step, but ultimately we are 7 to 10 steps ahead of where we were with the Smiths.

Dallas Falcon

January 10th, 2012
1:55 pm

Mike Martz??? You got to be kidding! Everybody in Chicago, and everywhere else he’s been, complains that he doesn’t protect the QB or run the ball enough. The thing that made Martz successful in St Louis was Kurt Warner getting the ball out quick. I don’t see Matt Ryan doing that.