El Nolan Effect: Atlanta's Defense Circa 2015

Fact: Mike Smith can kill you with mind bullets - that's telekinesis

We know that Mike Nolan will have an effect on our defense. And for the time being, we know he's only planning slight personnel tweaks. But what our defense will look like in three years is anyone's guess.

Our best guess is that he will (1) use five defensive backs on a regular basis; and (2) occasionally employ 4 linebackers. For now, that doesn't mean much insofar as personnel is concerned. We added Massaquoi (a hybrid end/backer) via the draft and added Samuel via free agency (allowing the hard hitting Robinson to move inside).

If the Falcons brass is planning a true 3-4 conversion, that will take time. Right now, they're not tipping their hand. Heck, maybe they don't have a plan. We don't have a nose tackle. Besides Weatherspoon, we don't have any backers that can rush the passer. Edwards would be a capable 3-4 end, but Sidbury and Biermann would undoubtedly shift to linebacker.

Bottom line: a 3-4 conversion would take time and energy. Maybe we don't go there. Maybe we do.

What do you think?

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