Falcons extend DC Mike Nolan

Updated: December 30, 2013, 2:07 AM ET
By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com

The Atlanta Falcons and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan have agreed to a two-year contract extension, a source confirmed.

Nolan was entering the last year of his contract and reached an agreement with the team on Saturday, a source told ESPN.com's John Clayton earlier Sunday.

The Falcons finished the season 4-12 and defensive woes contributed to the poor finish. Nolan's defense gave up 379.4 yards per game and had the league's worst third-down defense for a good part of the season, allowing opponents to convert 46 percent of the time. But Nolan's unit dealt with injuries and inexperience. Four of his regular starters at season's end were rookies, including undrafted linebackers Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu.

Coach Mike Smith seemed to understand the odds were against Nolan when he talked to ESPN.com last week about the team's struggles on defense.

"We were playing a lot of young players and when you have young players, you want to make sure that they have a good understanding of what you're trying to do, and you don't have the ability to have the multiplicity that you would like to have when you're playing young players," Smith said. "And I think multiplicity is important in game-planning. When you don't have the ability to play multiple coverages and multiple fronts, it does limit you somewhat."

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon recently expressed his support for Nolan.

"We're really comfortable with Mike," Weatherspoon told ESPN.com. "Everybody on our defense really speaks highly of him. They really enjoy working with him. We would hope that they keep him around here."

Nolan joined the Falcons last season after previous stints as the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos. He was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2005-08.

The news of Nolan's contract extension was first reported by Fox Sports.

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

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