Falcons promote Marquand Manuel to defensive co-ordinator

Marquand Manuel, right, as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons on Friday continued the dramatic remaking of their coaching staff following their Super Bowl loss by promoting Marquand Manuel to defensive co-ordinator.

The Falcons also hired Bryant Young as defensive line coach and two assistants received new titles. Raheem Morris was named wide receivers/passing game co-ordinator and assistant head coach, while Doug Mallory was promoted to defensive backs coach.

On Wednesday, the team said coach Dan Quinn has dismissed co-ordinator Richard Smith and defensive line coach Bryan Cox.

With offensive co-ordinator and quarterbacks coach Kyle Shanahan leaving to become head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, the team has two new co-ordinators. Steve Sarkisian was hired from Alabama to replace Shanahan.

Manuel had been the team’s secondary coach. He also coached with Quinn in Seattle when Quinn was the Seahawks’ defensive co-ordinator.

Manuel interviewed for the defensive co-ordinator post in Jacksonville last season.

The Falcons also considered linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich and defensive passing game co-ordinator Jerome Henderson to replace Smith.

The overhaul of the defensive staff came after the Falcons could not protect a 28-3 lead over New England in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. The Patriots scored 31 consecutive points for a 34-28 win in the Super Bowl’s biggest comeback.

Before the Super Bowl collapse, there had been much improvement by the defence which started four rookies and four second-year players. Manuel will inherit a defence that features NFL sacks leader Vic Beasley improved speed, especially with 2016 rookie starters Keanu Neal and Deion Jones.

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