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Atlanta Falcons' coaching shakeup continues, Manuel to lead defense
Marquand Manuel
Marquand Manuel

The Atlanta Falcons on Friday continued the dramatic remaking of their coaching staff following their Super Bowl loss by promoting Marquand Manuel to defensive coordinator.

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

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

With offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kyle Shanahan leaving to become head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, the team has two new coordinators. 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 coordinator.

Manuel interviewed for the defensive coordinator post in Jacksonville last season.

The Falcons also considered linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich and defensive passing game coordinator 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 defense which started four rookies and four second-year players. Manuel will inherit a defense that features NFL sacks leader Vic Beasley improved speed, especially with 2016 rookie starters Keanu Neal and Deion Jones.

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