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Mike Nolan, Defensive Coordinator of 31st Best NFL Defense, Given Vote of Confidence

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It is only week four and the dreaded votes of confidence are coming out left and right. With criticism of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan mounting, Falcons head coach Mike Smith publicly endorsed the man responsible for deciding that Kroy Biermann covering wide receiver Greg Jennings was a great idea.

"More Kroy Biermann! MORE!!!"
"More Kroy Biermann! MORE!!!"
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Just days after giving up one billion 558 yards to an offense filled with rookies and lacking some of their biggest talents, Mike Smith was asked about the guy who masterminded the effort. Unsurprisingly, his response was basically, "there's nothing to see here."

ESPN's Vaughn McClure has the specifics of the vote of confidence. In fact, these are some of the most Mike Smith comments in the history of Mike Smith comments.

"Mike Nolan is a guy who has all types of experience in many different situations; being a position coach, being a special teams coach, being a head coach," Smith said. "And when he was the head coach, he basically was the general manager as well. So he brings a wealth of knowledge. And I think on your staff, you have to have as many people that have knowledge to help you in all your decision-making. And I think Mike has a brilliant mind on defense.

"Right now, we're not playing consistently. You could say in the first quarter of the season we played one game very efficiently, one game we made enough plays to win it, and two games, we have not played nearly as well as we needed to."

Not mentioned about Nolan's resume: He never fielded a winning team in San Francisco. He was fired midseason, wrapping up his head coaching career by failing to win even a third of his NFL games. He has certainly brought the knowledge of how to play poorly to the Atlanta Falcons. Nolan was great as a defensive coordinator in Denver and Miami, but has yet to turn around, or even improve, the Falcons defense.

Smitty predictably pointed out the problems with consistency, somehow forgetting to say "process" multiple times, supporting Nolan's confusing, poorly-fitting scheme. Yes, Nolan's scheme is basically an irregular shirt you find at a discount thrift store.

The dreaded vote of confidence typically comes a little before the poorly performing person turns it around or is fired. The AJC's Mark Bradley called for Mike Smith to coach the defense. Clearly, change has to happen, but Smitty cannot publicly say, "Nolan is gone if this defense does not turn around."

With Smitty likely needing a playoff berth to keep his job, sticking with Nolan could potentially lead to him looking for a different job pretty quickly after the 2014 season. The Falcons have four more games until the bye week. If the defense remains this incompetent, something should happen by then.