The reports are coming in at a rapid rate now regarding who the Falcons are trying to talk to about their defensive coordinator vacancy, a hole opened up by Dean Pees’ recent retirement. Carolina Panthers interim defensive coordinator Al Holcomb becomes the latest name on the list.
Holcomb is another experienced candidate, having spent nearly 15 seasons in the NFL as a defensive quality control coach, defensive assistant, linebackers coach, defensive coordinator, and run game coordinator. The latter title is the one he’s had at each of his last two stops, serving as the run game coordinator for the Browns and Panthers alongside other duties over the past four seasons.
Falcons requested permission to interview Panthers’ defensive coordinator Al Holcomb, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 15, 2023
There’s an interesting mix of candidates here, all of whom have specialized in different areas. Jerry Gray’s background has been as a passing game coordinator and secondary coach, while Ryan Nielsen has focused heavily on the defensive line. Holcomb, like fellow candidate Brian Flores, has spent quite a bit of his time in the NFL coaching up linebackers, though his work against the run for some very good defenses in Cleveland and Carolina is worth notice. He did an admirable job this past season for a Carolina team in flux, and assuming the Panthers let him interview, would be another interesting candidate for a Falcons team that is following through on their promise to cast a wide net.
This is now the sixth candidate the Falcons have been linked to thus far, and Holcomb is unlikely to be the last. We’ll see if Carolina grants permission and he gets an opportunity to land a defensive coordinator job without that interim tag in Atlanta.