The Falcons are naming Ryan Nelsen as Atlanta’s next defensive coordinator

The team announced Friday that the Falcons have hired former co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Ryan Nelsen as Atlanta’s new defensive coordinator.

The Falcons interviewed Nielsen on Tuesday, according to a report by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Nielsen has been with the Saints since the 2017 season.

Nielsen began his coaching at the college level. He spent two seasons at Northern Illinois and four seasons as the defensive line coach, recruiting coordinator and game coordinator at North Carolina State. Nielsen left the college ranks to join the Saints’ coaching staff as the defensive line coach, a position he has held since 2017. There Nielsen met Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot, who spent 18 seasons in the Saints’ front office.

The Saints’ defensive front has been one of the best in the league over the past decade. Since Nielsen joined the Saints in 2017, New Orleans has recorded 281 sacks—the second-most in the NFL over that span—and has finished in the top ten for sacks in five of the past six seasons.

Also, during Nielsen’s tenure in New Orleans from 2017 to 2020, the Saints put up 55 regular season and postseason games without allowing a 100-yard rusher.

In other news, the Falcons have reportedly parted ways with defensive line coach Gary Emanuel, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino, and secondary coach John Hoke.

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