Ex-Bengal Marquand Manuel is Falcons' new defensive coordinator

Richard Smith

Smith could stay with the Falcons in an advisory role, Rapoport reported. In addition, they will need a new quarterbacks coach; Matt LaFleur is expected to be named offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams. Morris was hired as an assistant head coach and passing game coordinator on defense in 2015 and then moved to wide receivers coach while keeping the assistant head coach title in 2016.

Smith has been the defensive coordinator for the past two seasons.

Manuel aided in the development of rookie safety Keanu Neal and second-year cornerback Jalen Collins into major contributors.

The Falcons also parted ways with defensive line coach Bryan Cox.

Atlanta changed both coordinator positions this week, hiring Alabama's Steve Sarkisian to run the offense after Kyle Shanahan left to officially take the reins of the San Francisco 49ers. He interviewed for the defensive coordinator position with the Jacksonville Jaguars last offseason before the team promoted Todd Wash.

Earlier Tuesday, the Falcons announced Steve Sarkisian would replace Shanahan as offensive coordinator, a role he has not held at the National Football League level.

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.

Cox was on the staff for the past three seasons.

It is an inexperienced but athletic unit that showed its potential in the playoffs but wore down in the Super Bowl, giving up 31 unanswered points to the New England Patriots after being trapped on the field for more than 90 plays.

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