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Malliciah Goodman returning to defensive end position

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Dan Quinn's first step as new head coach is to fix all the problems created by the old regime.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The old coaching staff stayed true to their adage, "sacks don't matter." A number of pass rushers have been drafted by the team in recent years, but the rookies have rarely played defensive end. Malliciah Goodman has seen heavy snaps at defensive tackle. Prince Shembo was moved to linebacker. Stansly Maponga was moved to a bench warming spot.

Instead, the Falcons liked to rotate Kroy Biermann, Osi Umenyiora, and a bunch of defensive tackles at the end position. Unsurprisingly, Quinn is moving players back to their natural positions. The Atlanta Falcons official website mentions some of the news: Goodman is returning to defensive end.

Quinn has already been helping Goodman prepare for what could be his best season yet as a pro, strategizing where to best play the 6-foot-4, 274-pound lineman, based on what he does best. The plan is to move Goodman back outside, where he spent most of his time at Clemson. In 2012, Goodman ended his collegiate career in spectacular fashion, including 20 tackles, 9.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He was named Clemson’s defensive player of the game in the Tigers' Chick-fil-A Bowl win over LSU, totaling three sacks.

If you wonder why players rarely develop, it is because they are typically played out of position, if they get playing time at all. While Mike Smith and Mike Nolan placed emphasis on versatility, Quinn seems fine with players mastering what they already do best. Goodman sounds happy about this change.

"I love playing on the defensive line and being an end," said Goodman, who played both interior and outside defensive line positions under the previous coaching regime.

Asked about Quinn, Goodman mentions characteristics that had been lacking from the team's prior head coach for some time.

"He’s done a lot of things that will create a competitive environment, on and off the field," Goodman said. "He’s an energetic guy. He’s excited about his job, and he’s going to do everything he can to get us where we need to be."

Whether Goodman makes an impact in 2015 is still uncertain, but he is being setup to succeed under the new coaching staff.