The days after the Super Bowl have offered no respite from the business of the NFL for the Falcons front office. Yesterday, they announced Steve Sarkisian as their replacement for Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator following Shanahan’s departure to San Francisco to become the 49ers head coach. Today, reports have come out that say that the team will be making some changes to its defensive staff as well.
According to a report from NFL.com, the team has decided to move on from defensive coordinator Richard Smith. From the report:
“Defensive coordinator Richard Smith is being replaced while defensive line coach Bryan Cox is being let go by the team, a team source informed of the moves told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Wednesday. Smith could stay with the Falcons in an advisory role, Rapoport reported.
In addition, the team is expected to promote from within for the defensive coordinator job. Defensive backs coach Marquand Manuel and linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich are two potential candidates for the position, Rapoport reported.”
Smith spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator for the team and the Falcons finished 25th in yards per game allowed this year after finishing 16th in 2015. One thing that the piece from NFL.com does make clear however is that this decision was not solely made in reaction to the loss in Super Bowl LI. As Rapoport states, Dan Quinn had taken over the defensive play calling duties “for at least half of the season”.