There were rumors early in the offseason that Atlanta coordinators Mike Mularkey and Brian Van Gorder were told to start looking for employment outside of the Falcons organization around the end of the season. Baseless or not, the rumors started spreading after the much hated New Orleans Saints came to Atlanta on Monday night and drubbed us 45-16. Brian Van Gorder either planned to leave Atlanta or has Bobby Petrino like speed in finding a new job, as he was announced the new defensive coordinator for Auburn the day after the Falcons embarrassed themselves in the playoffs.
Thankfully there was no "pig sooi" call in VanGorder's press conference.
But there was this mugshot-ish press photo.
Both Van Gorder and Mularkey are long gone and neither is missed. Mike Nolan used exotic defensive schemes to confuse Peyton Manning even more than the Gangnam Style video confuses me (does he scream at a butt?). As shocking as a South Korean parking lot dance off, our usually diplomatic players have badmouthed our former coordinator.
The big take away? VanGorder was a big, yelling mustache. More after the jump.
Jeff Schultz writes a great article for the Atlanta Journal Constitution about our former deep-zone heavy coordinator. Schultz echoes rumors that both Van Gorder and Mularkey were dead men walking in Atlanta.
Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud said he had started to phase out some of Van Gorder's trademarked screaming fits. Per the article DeCoud said, "It just got to the point where we had to pick and choose what to listen to and what not to. You learned to take some things with a grain of salt."
Hmm. Later in the article Nolan explains he has changed his coaching philosophy over time. Nolan has also had success on multiple teams leading different defensive schemes to success. In the NFL I have long felt you need to evolve your scheme, philosophy and style to prevent it from getting stale and predictable. This is how a long time coordinator can make Peyton Manning look mortal. Monday's defense was beautiful, new and unique. It was the Gangnam Style of NFL defenses. Movement all across the defensive line. Linebackers at the line of scrimmage dropping into coverage. Defensive backs rotating from the line to deep into coverage. The players are giving quarterbacks nothing, as far as coverage and scheme presnap. I cannot wait to see what we dial up against the Chargers tomorrow.
Van Gorder had kept his same coaching style and scheme for four years and it remained about the same despite adding talent to the roster. The mustache has since gone back to college and given up over 27 points per game to mediocre offenses. He is running his same scheme and it is not working, even in college football.
Strong safety William Moore was always ready for VanGorder screaming but seems to be happy with Nolan's defensive and coaching philosophy. Moore has gone hard for the hometeam and is producing at a Pro Bowl level with 15 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1 sack in only two games.
Moore explains that under Nolan no one will yell at you. They will just replace you. The quiet has gotten this team's attention.
@CFBZ It reminds me of, say, the 3rd in a set of 8 "Faces of Meth" photo stream. I never had a big problem with ol BVG but it is interesting to see players didn't seem to like him along with the huge turnaround our defense has had.
@mFalcons5 You have to treat NFL players different than you do college kids. Screaming at grown men just isn't going to work. Just like it didn't work for Bobby Petrino when he made all the players be completely silent on road trips and refused to meet with his players face to face. The good coaches adjust.
@mFalcons5 NFL players are also in a Union whereas the college kids can hypothetically have their scholarships yanked at any time.
@CFBZ Very true. It reminds me a bit of Tom Coughlin, who spent plenty of time between college and the NFL and as head coach for the Giants was thought of as a real hard ass. While he is still certainly that way, he said he got a much better response from players once he treated them like grown ups.
This is a little reminiscent of the Petrino thing. I think it is easier to yell at college kids because you can easily replace them and they only have to deal with it for four years.