The Falcons just wrapped up a depressing 4-12 season, but the powers-that-be are making it very clear they don't blame Mike Nolan for the ugliness.
Falcons have signed DC Mike Nolan, whose contract expires, to an extension— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) December 30, 2013
Terms are unavailable at this point, so we're not sure just yet how long this extension runs. What we do know is that the Falcons looked at this defense, with its injuries and its five (!) starting rookies in the last week of the season, and determined that Nolan would have needed to be a mighty sorcerer indeed to coax league average play out of the unit. It didn't hurt that Nolan's defense strung together two strong performances against the playoff-bound 49ers and Panthers to end 2013, either.
Nolan was not under contract for next season, so this was a necessary move if the Falcons wanted to retain his services. It speaks to what many have suspected for a couple of months now, namely the idea that Thomas Dimitroff and Arthur Blank believe the bulk of the team's failings land on the coaching staff. I fully expect to see Mike Smith and Dirk Koetter return, though position coaches shouldn't get comfortable just yet.
If Nolan can work with more talent next season, I think the Falcons will show significant improvement more or less across the board. Nolan has a long track record of success across the NFL when there's more to work with, so the onus is now squarely on the front office to bring in the talent.
Your thoughts on the extension?