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Atlanta Falcons name Ryan Nielsen as new defensive coordinator

Nov 17, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons named former New Orleans assistant Ryan Nielsen their new defensive coordinator on Friday.

Nielsen, 43, replaces the retired Dean Pees.

Nielsen spent the past six seasons with the Saints as defensive line coach before adding the title of co-defensive coordinator in 2022. The Saints registered 281 sacks during Nielsen’s tenure, second most in the NFL in that span.

Nielsen will also get to assemble parts of a new staff. The Falcons on Friday parted ways with defensive line coach Gary Emanuel, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino and secondary coach Jon Hoke.

Falcons linebackers coach Frank Bush is the defensive coordinator in the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Pees, 73, retired — again — earlier this month. He came out of retirement to coach under Arthur Smith in 2021.

–Field Level Media

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