Atlanta Falcons sign defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to contract extension


May 4, 2013; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan shown on the field at Falcons Rookie Camp at the Falcons Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons didn’t waste any time following their season-ending loss to the Carolina Panthers, and now, there is some clarity as to who will be running the defense for the 2014 season.

FOX’s Jay Glazer reports that the team and current DC Mike Nolan have agreed on an extension that will eliminate any “lame duck” potential for Nolan heading into the off-season. On the surface, this may seem like an odd move, given the struggles of the defense this season, but in a world where stability seems to be highly valued (i.e. Flowery Branch), it isn’t a shock to see Nolan returning.

In defense of Nolan and his unit, the injury bug really struck this season, shelving guys like Sean Weatherspoon and Asante Samuel for periods of time while sapping any depth on the defensive line (Kroy Biermann) and making the already-depleted unit even uglier. There is no one on the planet who would argue that the Falcons defense was Super Bowl-worthy from a talent standpoint this season (especially in the front 7), and Nolan has a reputation for getting the most out of his talent everywhere he’s been as an assistant coach. 

There has been rampant speculation that the Falcons could go defensive line with their high 1st-round pick (Clowney!?), but regardless of that, it’s a safe bet to predict that Arthur Blank and company will invest in the defense. Apparently, their first investment will be to bring back the leader of the crew.