Falcons Hire Saints Co-DC Ryan Nielsen As Defensive Coordinator

The Atlanta Falcons announced Friday that they’ve hired Saints co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen as their new defensive coordinator. 

Ryan Nielsen

Nielson will replace Dean Pees, who opted to retire after the 2022 season. 

Here’s the full list of candidates for the job: 

  • Saints Co-DC Ryan Nielsen (Hired)
  • Former Broncos HC Vic Fangio (Interview)
  • Panthers DC Al Holcomb (Interview)
  • Steelers LB Coach Brian Flores (Interview)
  • Packers DB Coach Jerry Gray (Interview)
  • Broncos DC DC Ejiro Evero (Denied)

Nielsen, 43, got his start in coaching at USC in 2002. He later was hired by Ole Miss as their DL coach in 2005 and spent the next decade-plus at various stops in college football as either a defensive coordinator or DL coach. 

The Saints hired him away from N.C. State in 2017 to be their DL coach. He added assistant head coach to his title in 2021.

In 2022, the Saints promoted Nielsen to co-defensive coordinator along with Kris Richard

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