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Atlanta Falcons hire Saints Co-DC Ryan Nielsen

Saints lose a key piece of the defensive staff.

Los Angeles Chargers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons have hired Saints co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen to be their new defensive coordinator. Nielsen will replace Dean Pees who retired last offseason.

The New Orleans Saints have lost one of their key defensive assistants. He made a huge impact to many of the defensive linemen. The Saints have a few pending DL free agents that could follow Nielsen to Atlanta, Marcus Davenport, David Onyemata, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Shy Tuttle, Kentavious Street and Albert Huggins.

The Saints now need to fill their defensive coordinator role and the leading candidate should be promoting Co-DC Kris Richard who has interviewed for many vacant DC positions around the league.

This is not the coach the Saints were hoping to lose today (Sean Payton)... but it was something we thought could happen. The next move needs to be promoting Kris Richard so the Saints can veto interview requests for a lateral move and retain him.

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