Atlanta Falcons Defense in the Box Requires Thinking out of the Box

Frank SpartiCorrespondent IIJanuary 30, 2012

Grady Jackson
Grady JacksonScott Halleran/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is considering a hybrid defense based upon the players on the roster and their specific talents. In an early interview with, Nolan did not completely rule out the use of the 3-4 scheme.

The new assistant coach made it clear that he will design the defense around the roster. The key point may be that the roster may change in free agency and the draft.

Since it has also been widely reported by and others that the coaches will be looking closely and evaluating every position, especially on both the defensive line and offensive line, I thought it might be interesting to throw out an idea.

Why not consider acquiring a nose tackle in the draft or free agency.

This type of hybrid plan would require thinking outside the box creatively but inside the box literally.

By adding a player big enough and disruptive enough to demand a double team, the Falcons pass rush would instantly get better.

However, in a fast paced game, a one or two down player would have trouble getting off the field.

Remember Grady Jackson, who was great for one play then had to suck oxygen for the next several? I liked Grady because he could be such a load to deal with.

The Falcons could bring in another defensive end when a road grader nose tackle is on the field.

There are several free agent nose tackles like Antonio Garay in San Diego, Aubrayo Franklin in New Orleans and Paul Soliai in Miami.

In the draft, there is Dontari Poe from Memphis, Brandon Thompson from Clemson, Alameda Ta'amu from Washington and Josh Chapman from Alabama among others.

If the Atlanta Falcons do what they do best and evaluate these players, they should be able to bring in a disruptive force that will give opposing teams fits. A hybrid defense would add another thing for defending coaches and players to think about.