Mike Nolan was hired. And almost immediately, commentators/fans opined excitedly. What changes will he make? How will he utilize our young talent? Will he grow an awesome mustache?
If his past preferences are any indication, we could see a lot of "Big Nickel" in the coming year.
What is a big nickel formation? Also called the "Wolverine" formation, the big nickel was originally created and successfully utilized after a rash of linebacker injuries. In a normal nickel formation, an OLB is removed to put in a nickel back. For example, last year Atlanta would remove Stephen Nicholas for Chris Owens/Dominique Franks on 3rd downs.
Instead, the big nickel would would have replaced Nicholas with another safety ... [m]any would say you plug in another strong safety, who has better run stopping abilities than a free safety.
It's an interesting concept; and it matters, because the Falcons may look to draft or sign another strong safety before the 2012 season kicks off.
If the franchise did go in that direction, they'd draw some ire from the masses, given the needs elsewhere. But it makes a lot of sense if Nolan plans to stick with what's worked for him in the past. It's definitely something to watch out for.