Todd Kirkland/Associated Press

Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith won't return.

By SI Wire
February 08, 2017

The Atlanta Falcons fired defensive coordinator Richard Smith and defensive line coach Bryan Cox, the team confirmed.

The Sporting News first reported that staff changes were coming and that Smith might be moved to another position on the team.

ESPN reported on Wednesday that the team is considering secondary coach Marquand Manuel as the next defensive coordinator.

Smith and Cox were let go after the Falcons blew a 25-point third-quarter lead before losing to the New England Patriots, 34–28, in overtime.

Atlanta's defense was on the field for 93 snaps in the Super Bowl and gave up 546 yards to New England Patriots.

Cox was on the staff for the past three seasons, and Smith had been the defensive coordinator for the past two seasons. 

Atlanta ranked 25th in total defense this past season and gave up 25.4 points per game, but was helped by an offense that led the NFL in scoring.

Atlanta also hired former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to replace Kyle Shanahan after Shanahan was hired by the San Francisco 49ers as their head coach.

- Scooby Axson

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