The Falcons named Mike Nolan their defensive coordinator on Tuesday, which raised some questions about what the Falcons defense will look like in 2012.
Would the team transition to a 3-4 defense, which Nolan has primarily coached in his career?
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the team will primarily be a 4-3 defense despite Nolan’s hire. That makes sense considering the roster they have in place.
The 4-3 or 3-4 tags can get a little overplayed. Almost every defense is multiple and a coach with the experience of Nolan should be more than able to coach a variety of ways. Bill Belichick, the dean of 3-4 defenses in the league, has essentially coached a team with a four man defensive line all season.
Coaching matters less than personnel. Atlanta G.M. Thomas Dimitroff has stressed “urgent athleticism” with his draft picks, looking for players that are explosive rather than focusing on size.
The Falcons have a cohesive organization from owner Arthur Blank to Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith. Everyone should be on the same page with the type of defense they want to put together.
If they think Nolan is the right fit to coach this style of defense, they deserve the benefit of the doubt.