Atlanta coach Mike Smith is looking for new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to help the Falcons increase their third-down stops.
In a 25-year NFL head coaching career that has included stops as a defensive coordinator with the Giants, Redskins, Jets, Ravens, Broncos and Dolphins, Nolan has built a reputation for scheming to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks - and receivers - by making them have to guess.
Some of the Falcons' defensive statistics were good last season. They ranked No. 6 in the league against the run while allowing 97 rushing yards per game, but getting off the field was a big problem at times. Atlanta allowed a third-down conversion rate of 44.1 percent, 29th in the NFL.
Nolan's defense in Miami was No. 7 on third downs (33.8 percent allowed), arguably with weaker personnel than the Falcons have. Atlanta also was No. 30 in the NFL in third-down sack rate (6.02 percent, with 10 third-down sacks) while Miami was No. 2 (12.2 percent, with 21).
''Mike lives fo...