Fire Boudreau, hire Nolan: A productive day for the Falcons

Paul Boudreau had early success here, but less lately. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Paul Boudreau had early success here, but less lately. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Remember Mike Smith, the dullard who’d rather hang out with his old coaching pals than do something like, oh, maybe win a Super Bowl? Turns out he’s not so wild about his old pals that he’ll let that bond stand in the way of progress.

Smitty the alleged dullard — so alleged for having hired Dirk Koetter, with whom he worked a year in Jacksonville, as offensive coordinator — just fired Paul Boudreau, the offensive line coach whose success in 2008 helped get the whole Smith-as-Falcons-coach operation off the ground. And then he turned around and hired Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator.

Pretty instructive day, I’d say. First the Falcons make a move they needed to make. (As noted, GM Thomas Dimitroff wasn’t pleased that his smallish line couldn’t produce the push required to make it on fourth-and-inches twice against the Giants.) The Boudreau Method — coaching up smallish-but-bullish O-linemen — had run its course. Time to find a new man. And now the Falcons will.

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.

By Mark Bradley

127 comments Add your comment

BBQ MAN

January 17th, 2012
3:30 pm

great move on nolan

and oh, first!

KoKoPuf

January 17th, 2012
3:31 pm

Probably a good hire and not a threat for Smith’s job.

Mr. Smith goes to ?

January 17th, 2012
3:31 pm

Some Good moves today…Falcons

boots

January 17th, 2012
3:33 pm

O-line remains the main problem.

Stan

January 17th, 2012
3:35 pm

Good move. Now teach ryan how to throw

boots

January 17th, 2012
3:37 pm

And the hiring of both of these guys seems to show our leadership takes the problems they face seriously. Sounds a lot like what happened in Athens. Tough decisions. I hope the Falcons have some success like CMR did.

Great Sign

January 17th, 2012
3:39 pm

We still need some O-line. We need more black O-linemen. They can push the pile and get us an inch.

Great Sign by Smith. Kroy Bierman should be a good 3-4 OLB. It fits him.

D3

January 17th, 2012
3:44 pm

I am so very happy right about now. Yes, the Koetter hire is still not warming the way I hope, but this one takes the sting right out of it.

I know most won’t believe me, but I preferred Nolan over Spags. Nolan has proven to be great coordinator everywhere he’s gone. I love the flexibility of the 3-4/4-3 hybrid as well. He ran the hybrid to perfection in Denver his first year. I wouldn’t totally expect us to give up on the 4-3 either.

Abe just got his walking papers and Lawrence Sidbury has to be one happy dude right about now. Gotta get a biggie to go with Babs, Walker, and Peters. Looks like Peria Jerry is on his way out also, but maybe he gets one more year. My question is where does Babs fit into this offense. Could he be standup 5 technique, because he surely won’t be our NT. Hell, Trey Lewis is still available (no $hit).

Casey Anthony

January 17th, 2012
3:44 pm

This Falcons team will still suck because we don’t have the personnel on defense.

SEC Man

January 17th, 2012
3:45 pm

GREAT MOVE ON NOLAN, I remember seeing his Broncos defense and they were Ferocious!

Roark

January 17th, 2012
3:45 pm

It has been too long since ATL has had a professional DC – very nice hire!

tgueboy

January 17th, 2012
3:45 pm

how racist …great signs

Phil Lunney

January 17th, 2012
3:45 pm

I am a fan, not an analyst that knows all, so I will give Smitty his revamp and be excited about next year. I think a full training camp can also help. Go Falcons.

Mark Bradley

January 17th, 2012
3:49 pm

BBQ man is kudo’ed.

Casey Anthony

January 17th, 2012
3:49 pm

The only way the Falcons can impress me is if they win a playoff game, until then who cares.

Astro Joe

January 17th, 2012
3:50 pm

A little bit of a risk with Nolan’s hire. You’re either asking him to switch to a 4-3 scheme, you’re planning to change personnel to fit into Nolan’s 3-4 swcheme or you’re asking the players to learn some hybrid of the two.

Until we find a smash-mouth O-line position coach AND the smash-mouth players, I’ll withhold judgement on the Boudreau move. Now what are the odds that Koetter hires his former O-line coach from J’ville?

Tha Real Falcon

January 17th, 2012
3:50 pm

We shall see how he coaches a 4-3 team

SirReal

January 17th, 2012
3:52 pm

Mark
I’m very pleased with this hire. I have wanted to see a semblance of the 3-4 for wuite some time. SOme fans are griping that we dont have the personnel for it. We have an entire offseason ahead. We already have SOME pieces for it. i say let the coaches coach and we just wait and see. Good move by the Birds though. Excellent.

Great Sign

January 17th, 2012
3:52 pm

Sorry but that is not racist. Its obvious that they black O-lineman are stronger and tougher. look at the teams that have great blockers. they all have at least 2 black O-lineman

Thomas Dimitroff is to blame

January 17th, 2012
3:52 pm

Doesn’t this line cause your head to hurt
“GM Thomas Dimitroff wasn’t pleased that his smallish line couldn’t produce the push required to make it on fourth-and-inches twice against the Giants.”

Then how about getting some beef on the O line?!?!?!

Mark Bradley

January 17th, 2012
3:54 pm

I’d say these moves, unlike the Koetter hire, will go over well.

CONservative Johnson

January 17th, 2012
4:00 pm

We need to swipe Carl Nicks away from the Aints. Having an all-pro RG would do wonders for the OL. The experiment this season was a disaster . . .

Hank Williams Jr

January 17th, 2012
4:02 pm

The Koetter hire, just like the golf game turned a lot of people off…

Joey

January 17th, 2012
4:02 pm

Good hire.

The HC is still a “dullard” with his offensive philosophy.

Opie Taylor

January 17th, 2012
4:06 pm

Great move if Mike Smith let the DC do his job without his interference and micro managing!!!

72 Million Bust

January 17th, 2012
4:11 pm

Enter your comments here

72 Million Bust

January 17th, 2012
4:13 pm

No more excuses about Flacco defense.

Win a playoff game or wear the BUST Title.

Chuck

January 17th, 2012
4:15 pm

This is great! Now we use our first round draft pick to draft a stud of a nose tackle and . . .no, wait, . . .uh oh!.

Queensbridge

January 17th, 2012
4:15 pm

Dont mind the hire of Nolan, but the fact still remains that Smith is running scared now and doing whatever he can to save his job, which for him means go deep in the playoffs. He’s on the hot seat, no doubt about it…and I just farted, my seat is hot too now.

Lawnmower Man

January 17th, 2012
4:15 pm

The Falcons have unleashed an army of blog plants to convince us that this is a good hire, so we will renew our season tickets. Sad.

Who Me?

January 17th, 2012
4:26 pm

Good day for the defense, although I can’t agree with others who think Abe just got his walking papers. I do think it’s going to force Ray Edwards to step up and balance his side of the line a bit more than this year, although I will cut him some slack considering he sucked this season due to (what I hope was) his knee repair early last season.

Anybody got any spare DB’s they can throw our way?

Dawglasville

January 17th, 2012
4:28 pm

Great Sign – “Its obvious that they black O-lineman are stronger and tougher.”

How did that get past the screener?

Michael

January 17th, 2012
4:32 pm

@ D3, I was in the Nolan camp too. I think the 3-4 look will dramatically improve our pass rush. Bierman was a 3-4 OLB in college. A Bierman/Spoon combo off the edge should be nice on passing downs. I also agree that Boudreau had to go. His philosophy of coaching up lineman who don’t have the size/athleticism turned on us this year when played playoff teams that have physical defensive fronts (see Chicago, NYG, Houston, and *through gritting teeth* NO). It’s time to bring in some quality lineman who have size AND athleticism. Hard work only beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. When we played the playoff teams their TALENT on the DLine played hard and beat our “hard workers”. That was the difference between getting the short yardage that we needed and getting stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.

tussin

January 17th, 2012
4:36 pm

so dude from jacksonville is alright because he had nothing to work with, and now one of the best o-line coaches in the league, who had nothing to work with is gone

Dawglasville

January 17th, 2012
4:37 pm

Dear screener,

It is OK for Great Signs to say, “Its obvious that they black O-lineman are stronger and tougher,” but I can’t ask how did that statement get past the screener?

Dawglasville

January 17th, 2012
4:37 pm

JDawg1785

January 17th, 2012
4:38 pm

Sounds like a good hire to me!

AlanFalcon

January 17th, 2012
4:38 pm

Well Falcon fans its all coming down and I for one am damm proud that Arthur has spoken and that his management team is moving forward, can you imagine a screen and vertical approach as part of this team as well as a combination3-4, 4-3, what next, we may have a defensive front 7 that moves around and doesn’t get set in stone.

What a great day !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KJ

January 17th, 2012
4:39 pm

How incredibly racist to say that black O-linemen are stronger and tougher. What next? Are you going to say that black running backs are faster? You can’t make that argument. Look at all the great white RBs we have in the league. There’s um … errr … hmmm. OK, well there’s always … no … he’s a quarterback. Still thinking …

Michael

January 17th, 2012
4:42 pm

Tussin,

Boudreau isn’t a bad coach but he is a big part of the reason why he had “nothing to work with”. He preferred to coach up guys who were considered “overachievers” by other scouts/teams. You may get Harvey Dahl’s that way but you also can end up going into a playoff game against arguably the best DLine in the league with a career backup at LT and a sub-300lbs RG who’s playing out of position.

AlanFalcon

January 17th, 2012
4:44 pm

Hope we don’t get any more Vick types with the pit bulls as O-lineman.

rivercard

January 17th, 2012
4:47 pm

Great Sign KJ – Okay with some black linemen as long as we can keep a smart white QB

See how stupid you sound? Also Great Sign if they have two black linemen what are the other 3?

take it from me.

January 17th, 2012
4:48 pm

Ray Edwards wants to be a movie star,not a football player,ship him out! install sidebury at that end position.

Falcons4Eva

January 17th, 2012
4:49 pm

We just might be on to something here….unless of course the Saints hire Spagnola….

FalconDawg

January 17th, 2012
4:52 pm

We have enough racism in politics right now. We certainly don’t need any more in sports, great sign.

Michael

January 17th, 2012
4:57 pm

This is a football blog, anybody who comes on here talking about race needs to get shunned. If I’m correct we just need to fill vacancies at QB Coach/OLine Coach now? I wouldn’t mind Steve Logan (Ryan’s college OC) as QB coach. As for OLine just give me somebody who wants a big, physical line.

Jason

January 17th, 2012
4:57 pm

rivercard

January 17th, 2012
4:59 pm

I thought Koetter was going to be the QB coach also. Is that incorrect?

Tommy

January 17th, 2012
5:01 pm

Forget trying to be like the Saints or Packers–the Falcons are starting to emulate the Texans. Running attack combined with screens and deep passes, aggressive 3-4 defense. . .

I was down on the Koetter hire until they got Nolan. Now it all makes sense.

Michael

January 17th, 2012
5:01 pm

@ rivercard, where did you hear that? I thought he was going to hire someone