NFL NEWS

Falcons promote Manuel to defensive coordinator

Sports Xchange

February 10, 2017 at 10:37 am.

Oct 9, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Atlanta Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel talks with defensive back Brian Poole (34) and defensive end Tyson Jackson (94) and teammates in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Falcons won 23-16. Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 9, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Atlanta Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel talks with defensive back Brian Poole (34) and defensive end Tyson Jackson (94) and teammates in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Falcons won 23-16. Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons promoted secondary coach/senior defensive assistant Marquand Manuel to defensive coordinator on Friday.

Manuel was considered the top choice after the Falcons decided not to keep Richard Smith in that role, ESPN reported. Smith could remain on head coach Dan Quinn’s staff in an advisory position, but he plans to explore other options.

Former NFL standout Bryant Young will become the defensive line coach and Doug Mallory, who was the assistant defensive backs coach, will replace Manuel, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The shakeup comes after the historic collapse in the overtime loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

The Falcons’ defense surrendered 31 consecutive points and 546 total yards, including 466 passing yards to Tom Brady, in last Sunday’s 34-28 loss in the Super Bowl. The Falcons led the Patriots 28-3 early in the second half before the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Manuel, 37, was the assistant secondary coach for the Seattle Seahawks when Quinn was the defensive coordinator there, and then followed Quinn to Atlanta in 2015. Manuel played eight seasons in the NFL at strong safety from 2002 to 2009.

Quinn took over the defensive play-calling from Smith during the season, starting with the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 4, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Falcons will enter the 2017 season with two new coordinators, starting on Tuesday when outgoing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was replaced by Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Shanahan was named the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers on Monday.