Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta - atljbo - 01-17-2012 05:25 PM
Quote:Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta
When Mike Nolan was a young, hungry assistant coach in the NFL he couldn't wait to sit at the head of the table.
He watched his dad, former 49ers and Saints head coach Dick Nolan live the life, pushing for the top spot, constantly relocating the family to improve his footing, enhance his resume, and get another shot as the head man in charge.
His son did the same thing when he entered the family business in 1981. He was handed the keys to the 49ers, given final say in all football matters and led the franchise to an 18-37 record before being fired midway through his fourth season.
"I had a bigger desire [to become a head coach] before I'd ever done it. And I still have somewhat, but I'm more realistic now," said Nolan, who just capped a successful two-year stint as the Dolphins defensive coordinator.
The two-year deal Nolan signed in 2009 is over, and the head coach that hired him, Tony Sparano, is gone. And so is Nolan, whom sources say has accepted the Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator position, reuniting with head coach Mike Smith, whom he worked with in Baltimore.
Returning the Dolphins, if he had a good rapport with whoever is hired, was an option. But reuniting with an old colleague was preferred.
The one thing Nolan's learned the past few seasons is he's comfortable with who he is, and the lane he's on these days, no matter where he lands in the coming days.
"That first time you think about, 'I just want the chance. After you've done it you realize you'd like to have a better setup," Nolan said. "Some guys that's not true. But I really enjoy coordinating.
"The best job in football is coordinating," Nolan said. "You get to be hands on with the players. You get to coach. You get to call plays. As a head coach its really minimal. You don't do as much of that as you think you might like to.
"Even when you try someone is pulling you away and saying you've got to be over here doing something else."
Something more big picture, like massaging the ego of an agent concerned about his client. Or something related to the team's travel schedule, maybe a media or marketing obligation.
Just like football's hidden yardage often differentiates the winners from the losers, a head coach's success with monotonous responsibilities often determines how successful he becomes.
Coordinating is pure football.
That's what Mike Zimmer, Joe Philbin, Rob Chudzinski, Mike McCoy's of the NFL need to be ready for because a head coach role has gotten the best of many talented NFL coordinators. Coaches like Nolan and Sparano, who weren't completely ready for the added responsibilities this time around.
These days Nolan views himself as a football mercenary. He takes over bad defenses, tightens screws and transforms them into stingy units. He did that in Denver before falling out with Josh McDaniel, and he did that with the Dolphins.
Then he moves on, this time to Atlanta.
Plenty of the Dolphins' current players hoped Nolan would be interviewed for the head coach position, but that sit down with owner Steve Ross never came. Possibly because Nolan contributed to the 2011 team's slow start seeing as how the defense – this team's supposed anchor – wasn't producing early.
Good thing Nolan's stopped stressing about getting back to the big chair. He's just focused on finding the right opportunity, and it appears he has in Atlanta.
"It's always for someone else to decide what your worthiness is," said Nolan, whose unit finish sixth in points allowed per game, and third against the rush.
"I think I'm pretty damn good at what I do. I've done it a lot of places and we've done it pretty damn well. I don't doubt myself on that," Nolan said. "But again, getting a job, not getting a job. If you're the one handing out job then you get to decide that, and not me."
RE: Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta - Paprika Neck - 01-17-2012 05:33 PM
i like it
RE: Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta - bassfalcon - 01-17-2012 05:38 PM
Our defense is about to take it to another level and it's going to be fun to watch.
I can't wait to see what changes we make, but I know it's going to make me smile regardless.
Good bye to BBDB forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RE: Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta - Paulitik - 01-17-2012 05:42 PM
Great hire, if Spags gets the Colts gig, even better hire. Ain'ts and Iggles left holding the bag.
RE: Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta - m2Falcons - 01-17-2012 05:44 PM
Now if we'll just start using some 3-4 hybrid scemes too...
RE: Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta - Knight of God - 01-17-2012 06:04 PM
Best DC hire that I have ever seen as a Falcons fan.
RE: Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta - RnB - 01-17-2012 06:06 PM
Thanks for the article, jbo.
RE: Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta - Headshot - 01-17-2012 06:07 PM
Love this guy's intensity and confidence.
RE: Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta - g-dawg - 01-17-2012 06:08 PM
(01-17-2012 06:04 PM)Knight of God Wrote: Best DC hire that I have ever seen as a Falcons fan.
glad we are both smiling today Knight.......great hire!
RE: Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to bolt Miami for Atlanta - Beef - 01-17-2012 06:13 PM
I still see us running mostly 4-3. We simply do not have near the personnel to run a 3-4. It would take a massive overhaul of players AND DEPTH and then we're talking learning curve and a gelling period.
I see us in the 4-3 just running some more exotic blitz packages and cover schemes. Edwards, Biermann, Sidbury, and Matthews are all hands in the dirt 5-technique DE's, PERIOD. So is Abe, but I'm assuming we don't re-sign him. And other than Spoon, we really don't have an LB that you would consider a 3-4 fit. Not to mention we have no real NT and no depth there either. You can't just go sign an FA NT and rely on only that. If he got hurt, you can't just toss a 300lb DT in there. We need 3-4 depth as much as 3-4 starters if we go that route.
Maybe we slowly morph into a hybrid that looks more and more like a 3-4 over the next couple years, but I'm betting 2012 is almost exclusively 4-3.