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Report: Marquand Manuel strong favorite for defensive coordinator gig

It would be a great hire, in our humble opinions.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

This morning, we suggested the Falcons could choose to fill Richard Smith’s shoes with an internal candidate, and we threw out Raheem Morris and Marquand Manuel as the two likeliest candidates. It appears Manuel is a favorite to be the new DC, per the always reliable Vaughn McClure at ESPN.

Manuel is well-regarded around the NFL for his coaching prowess, and his players love his toughness and high standards for them. He’s also tight with Quinn, having spent the 2014 season as his assistant secondary coach in Seattle, and spending the last two seasons doing a masterful job of coaching the defensive backs in Atlanta. There’s considerable talent in that secondary, but it’s not a coincidence that guys like Brian Poole, Jalen Collins, and Ricardo Allen have flourished under his tutelage, either.

Manuel has obviously not been a defensive coordinator in the past, but he was going to get lured away for that gig at some point if he wasn’t promoted here in Atlanta. With Dan Quinn potentially continuing to call defensive plays and a strong staff to draw on, Manuel should be able to take on the job and get up to speed pretty quickly. He’s a logical hire, though McClure notes that linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich, Morris, and defensive passing game coordinator Gerald Henderson could also be in play. For what it’s worth, others see it coming down to Manuel or Ullbrich.

Now we’ll just see if/when Manuel gets the gig, but it’s a logical move and one I’d support wholeheartedly.