Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel is a lucky guy. Sure, he’s the defensive coordinator for an NFL team, and that’s awesome. And sure, he’s obviously a favorite of up and coming head coach Dan Quinn. But Manuel is uniquely lucky in that he’s taking over a young defense with incredible potential. He’s absolutely played a role in the construction of this defense. But now, now it’s his.
Going forward Manuel will surely rely on his playing experience. Perhaps more importantly, he’ll rely on his exposure to great coaches. (Credit to D. Orlando Ledbetter for the quote.)
“I’ve played in every defense known to mankind [... and t]hey had different ways of doing it,” Manuel said. “Coach LeBeau had a friendship way of doing it. He wanted to make sure that you knew every point in a nice and respectful way. Coach Ray Rhodes was a little different. … He was an old-school coach. He was that dad who made sure he put his elbow on you. He taught me about game-planning, even as a player.”
Some questioned whether Manuel was ready for the job after the Falcons parted ways with Richard Smith. The frequent response to that criticism is usually something like, “Well everyone knows Quinn runs the defense anyway!” But that sentiment does a disservice to Manuel. He may not possess a wealth of coaching experience, but he’s certainly ready and equipped to do the work.