With Bruce Arians Hire In Arizona, Mike Nolan Is Staying In Atlanta

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Breathe a sign of relief, Falcons fans. The popular defensive coordinator has no head coaching jobs left to interview for.

Coming into the post-season, the Falcons knew they would be facing some formidable challenges. I think we were all a little surprised to find that a wholesale poaching of the team's coaching staff might be one of them.

Dirk Koetter, Mike Nolan and Keith Armstrong were all linked to head coaching jobs around the league after the bloodbath that was Black Monday. Armstrong got several interviews, Koetter was linked to the Eagles and Chiefs and Nolan was at least a rumored candidate for more than one job. It looked like one or more of Atlanta's coordinators might be headed out the door for a head coaching gig.

That did not happen. The Falcons moved swiftly to lock up Dirk Koetter with an extension early in the process, at which point I predicted Nolan and Armstrong would stay, given the lack of teams looking for defensive-minded head coaches. Though there were a few Jacksonville-related scares along the way, I was actually right about something for once. With Bruce Arians taking the Arizona job, every head coaching vacancy in the league is now filled.

There's nothing saying that teams won't try to hire away Nolan or Armstrong for a coordinator job, but the Falcons can block lateral moves and would be fools not to given the success of the defense and special teams units in 2012. This means the coaching staff that helped lead this Falcons team to a 13-3 record and their first playoff win in nearly a decade is likely to remain intact next season. I couldn't possibly be happier with this news.

Let's celebrate!

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