Another disappointing playoff exit by the Falcons will be followed by a surprising coaching change.
Falcons coach Mike Smith said Monday that defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is leaving for the same position at Auburn.
Van Gorder is making a lateral move, so it’s fair to wonder if this is a move Smith was looking to make either way. Smith is a defensive-minded head coach, so changing coordinators on that side of the ball shouldn’t cause a huge disruption.
There is also a chance the Falcons could be making a change on offense. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is getting at least two interviews to be a head coach elsewhere.
The Falcons have lost in the playoffs two times before, but we get a sense this loss has created the most frustration. Smith said the team will do a “deep diagnostic” of everything in the organization.
“You’re either getting better or you’re going backwards,” Smith said. “There is no neutral.”
Quarterback Matt Ryan said after Sunday’s game the team definitely didn’t take a step forward this year. So it looks like the Falcons will re-tool after a 2011 campaign that fell short of expectations.