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Report: Saints Hire Mike Nolan

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The Saints have added Mike Nolan to the coaching staff to serve as the new linebackers coach, per reports.

Mike Nolan and Ray Lewis

Nolan to NOLA.

Three weeks and 4 days ago, news broke that the New Orleans Saints parted ways with, among other assistants, longtime LBs Coach (and interim Head Coach) Joe Vitt. Today Sirius XM Radio, his most recent employer, confirmed that Vitt’s replacement is none other than Mike Nolan, per Nick Underhill of the Advocate.

Nolan started his coaching career in 1981 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, the University of Oregon. He would coach defense at the collegiate level until 1987 (including a 2-year stint at LSU), when he joined the Denver Broncos as a Special Teams coach.

Nolan would go on to serve as Defensive Coordinator for a number of teams, including the New York Giants, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and the Atlanta Falcons, before landing his first gig as a Head Coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Between 2005-2008 in SF, he went 18-37 (.327) as HC and was ultimately fired mid-season.

Granted Dennis Allen is still our DC (for the time being), for reference the following is a snapshot of the total defense (yards allowed/game) rankings for each team where Nolan served as DC (per NFL.com) over the years.

1993 New York Giants #5

1994 New York Giants #11

1995 New York Giants #17

1996 New York Giants #14

1997 Washington Redskins #18

1998 Washington Redskins #24

1999 Washington Redskins #30

2000 New York Jets #10

2002 Baltimore Ravens #22

2003 Baltimore Ravens #3

2004 Baltimore Ravens #6

2009 Denver Broncos #7

2010 Miami Dolphins #6

2011 Miami Dolphins #15

2012 Atlanta Falcons #24

2013 Atlanta Falcons #27

2014 Atlanta Falcons #32

Before joining Sirius XM Radio, Nolan’s last NFL gig was as the LBs Coach for the San Diego Chargers. Can he get something, anything out of the Saints fledgling LB corps? Does this signal a commitment on the part of the Saints to developing Stephone Anthony? How about a commitment to bringing in more LBs either through free agency or the 2017 NFL Draft?

These are important questions to consider over the offseason, and we’ll be sure to bring you a more in-depth look at Nolan’s coaching career in the coming weeks. For now, I personally welcome his arrival as the newest Saints Assistant Coach.