Ted Monachino

Falcons Hire Ryan Nielsen As DC

Ryan Nielsen will jump within the NFC South, moving from New Orleans to Atlanta. The Falcons announced Friday they have hired the Saints’ co-defensive coordinator to be their DC.

Working alongside Kris Richard in the Saints’ co-DC setup on Dennis Allen‘s staff this season, Nielsen has been with New Orleans for the past six years. This move will reunite Nielsen with Falcons GM Terry Fontenot, who came over from the Saints in 2021.

This Atlanta search featured some moving parts. Needing to replace the re-retired Dean Pees, the Falcons interviewed some high-profile names. They reached out to two coaches who have already gone through head coaching interviews — Brian Flores and Ejiro Evero — and interviewed ex-Denver HC Vic Fangio. Flores has been closely tied to the Cardinals’ HC job, while Evero has interviewed twice with the Colts and Texans. The Broncos, however, quickly blocked an Evero-Falcons meeting. Because Evero holds play-calling responsibilities in Denver and is under contract, a block maneuver could ensue. Fangio has also interviewed with three teams and looms as an option to return to the 49ers if/once DeMeco Ryans lands a top job elsewhere.

Nielsen, 43, had also interviewed with the Vikings about their DC job. No block could commence with Nielsen, due to he and Richard’s atypical arrangement. This will be Nielsen’s first crack as a play-caller, as Allen continued to run the show on that side of the ball despite succeeding Sean Payton as head coach.

Nielsen spent his time in New Orleans coaching defensive linemen. He worked as the Saints’ D-line coach — or as DC with D-line responsibilities — throughout that Louisiana run. During that stretch, Cameron Jordan (one Pro Bowl in his first six seasons) emerged on the Hall of Fame radar. Breaking the Saints’ career sack record, Jordan has made five Pro Bowls over the past six years. New Orleans also received quality work from defensive tackle David Onyemata under Nielsen.

Atlanta ranked outside the top 20 in points and yards allowed in each of Pees’ two seasons, but the team made no secret of its rebuild path. Nielsen will be tasked with elevating the young talent on the Falcons’ defense — including the likes of Arnold Ebiketie, DeAngelo Malone and Troy Andersen. The Falcons’ 21 sacks ranked as the NFL’s second-worst total; only Grady Jarrett totaled more than four.

The Falcons shifted to a 3-4 scheme under Pees, so it will be interesting to see if Nielsen brings the Saints’ 4-3 alignment to Atlanta. Allen oversaw New Orleans’ defense throughout Nielsen’s tenure, making it premature to determine if the latter would make that change. But the Falcons are changing up their staff on defense.

As should be expected, Nielsen will be bringing in much of his own position coaches to Atlanta. The Falcons fired outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino, D-line coach Gary Emanuel and secondary coach Jon Hoke, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter (on Twitter). A former Colts DC, Monachino joined the Falcons upon Pees being hired. Ditto Emanuel, who worked under Monachino in Indianapolis and who has been in coaching since the early 1980s, and Hoke.

Coaching Notes: Pack, Rathman, McCardell

The Packers are making a change on special teams. They are firing ST coordinator Shawn Mennenga, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). A longtime college coach, Mennenga had previously served as Browns assistant ST coach before joining Matt LaFleur‘s staff in 2019. The Packers are expected to promote assistant ST coach Maurice Drayton to replace Mennenga, Pelissero tweets. At least one other team was interested in Drayton for such a role, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Drayton was in contention for this job two years ago.

Here is the latest out of Green Bay and from around the league:

  • Mike Pettine may not be locked in as Packers defensive coordinator next season. The veteran DC opted not to sign an extension last year, and Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes his contract is up. The Packers invested heavily in their pass rush and used three first-round picks on defenders from 2018-19 but dropped from 15th in defensive DVOA in 2019 to 17th this past season. Pettine is a holdover from Mike McCarthy‘s staff, having arrived in 2018.
  • Colts running backs coach Tom Rathman announced his retirement Thursday. The Colts hired Rathman in 2017, after his eight-year tenure as 49ers running backs coach ended. Rathman attempted to retire in 2019 and ’20, but the Colts successfully lobbied him to stay on, per The Athletic’s Stephen Holder (on Twitter). A decorated fullback who won two Super Bowls with the 49ers, Rathman coached running backs from 1997-2020. Sixteen of those years came in San Francisco.
  • Staying with the Colts, they are hiring former Jaguars QBs coach Scott Milanovich to replace Marcus Brady in that position, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star tweets. Milanovich was Jacksonville’s QBs coach from 2017-19. Otherwise, he has spent his career in the CFL, having coached the Toronto Argonauts and, in 2020, the Edmonton Eskimos. The Colts promoted Brady to OC last week.
  • Longtime NFL wideout Keenan McCardell will resurface in Minnesota. The Vikings are hiring McCardell as receivers coach, per Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union (on Twitter). A longtime Jaguars pass catcher who broke into the coaching ranks in 2010, McCardell served as Jacksonville’s receivers coach from 2017-20 under Doug Marrone.
  • Ex-Colts DC Ted Monachino will be the Falcons‘ outside linebackers coach under Arthur Smith next season. Monachino, Indy’s DC from 2016-17, spent the past two years with the Bears. The Falcons also hired Jon Hoke to coach defensive backs. The older brother of Maryland HC Brady Hoke, Jon was the Terrapins’ defensive coordinator from 2019-20 but has coached NFL DBs for several seasons.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Vikings, Bears

The Packers will not be hiring Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Green Bay was reportedly one of five teams with interest in Rizzi, who also holds the title of assistant head coach in Miami, but the two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement. Per Silverstein, Rizzi’s price tag is believed to be “high,” but he’s still expected to land with another club in the near future. The Dolphins would like to retain Rizzi (whom they interviewed for head coach), but they figure to install an all-new staff under presumptive head coach Brian Flores, so it’s unclear if there is still a fit in South Beach.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Like the Packers, the Vikings expressed interest in hiring Rizzi, but they’ve since gone in another direction. Minnesota has hired Rizzi’s assistant in Miami, Marwan Maalouf, as their new special teams coach, tweets Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio. Maalouf served as the Colts’ special teams coach in 2012 before joining Miami the following season. He’s replacing Mike Priefer, who left the Vikings to take the Browns’ ST job. Last year, the Vikings ranked 20th in Football Outsiders’ special teams metrics, while the Dolphins were one spot behind at No. 21.
  • Rick Dennison preferred to stay on as the Jets‘ offensive line coach under new head coach Adam Gase, but New York instead hired Frank Pollack to guide their front five. However, both the Vikings and Packers remain “strong possibilities” for Dennison, per Marvez (Twitter link). Dennison had been expected to immediately follow Gary Kubiak — who was recently hired as a Vikings’ offensive advisor — to Minnesota, but that union hasn’t yet happened. Green Bay, meanwhile, has already hired Adam Stenavich as its offensive line coach, so Dennison would come aboard in a different position.
  • Early reports suggested the Packers were interested in retaining incumbent tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, but Green Bay has instead hired Falcons quality control/assistant offensive line coach Justin Outten as their new TEs coach, tweets Silverstein. Angelichio was one of a few assistants that was expected to stick around under new Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur, but things must have changed over the past several weeks. Outten, for his part, joined Atlanta as an intern in 2016, and was coaching in the high school ranks as recently as 2015.
  • The Bears hired former Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino last week, and now Chicago has formally announced his title. Monachino will serve as a senior defensive assistant/outside linebackers coach under defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, who previously employed Monachino in both Indianapolis and Baltimore.

NFC North Rumors: Bears, Vikings, Packers

The Bears have agreed to hire former Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino as a defensive assistant, according to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun Times. Monachino served as Indy’s DC from 2016-17 when Chuck Pagano — who’s since been hired as Chicago’s defensive play-caller — was head coach, so the connection makes sense. A former linebackers and defensive line coach in Baltimore and Jacksonville, respectively, Monachino spent the 2018 season as a defensive analyst at the University of Missouri. He’d recently agreed to become the defensive coordinator at Kansas State, but he’ll back out of that commitment to join Pagano and the Bears. While there’s no official word as to what title Monachino will hold in Chicago, he’s likely coming aboard as linebackers coach.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Tight ends coach Todd Downing is not expected to return to the Vikings in 2019, reports Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Downing still has a year remaining on his contract and was offered two new roles on offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski‘s staff, but it sounds like Downing turned down both opportunities. He’s now looking for other jobs elsewhere, and while there is a small chance he could eventually come back to Minnesota, a reunion is not considered likely, per Cronin. Downing, 38, was a rising star as recently as 2017, when the Raiders pushed out Bill Musgrave in order to make Downing offensive coordinator.
  • The Packers are expected to interview former Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack for the same role, per Jim Owczarski of PackersNews.com. Pollack was let go by Cincinnati despite excellent 2018 results, as new Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is reportedly eyeing Bill Callahan for his club’s OL coach gig. Green Bay, meanwhile, is on the hunt for a new offensive line coach after James Campen departed for Cleveland. 49ers assistant OL coach Adam Stenavich is already on the Packers’ radar, as San Francisco granted Green Bay interview permission on Wednesday.
  • Defensive assistant Scott McCurley won’t be retained as part of new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur‘s staff, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. McCurley was Green Bay’s assistant linebackers coach from 2014-17, but moved into a generic defensive assistant role prior to last season. Per Demovsky, McCurely should be a popular name around the league given his experience under multiple defensive coordinators in Green Bay.
  • Luke Getsy — who served as the Packers‘ wide receivers coach from 2016-17 — is a candidate to return to that position in Green Bay, tweets Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Gestsy, 34, spent the 2018 season as the offensive coordinator at Mississippi State. The Packers sound as though they are simply waiting on an answer from Getsy, per Silverstein, who notes Getsy’s addition would give quarterback Aaron Rodgers a coach with whom he’s familiar.

Bucs Interview Ex-Colts DC Ted Monachino

The Buccaneers interviewed former Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino for their vacant defensive line coach position on Wednesday, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).Ted Monachino (Featured)

Head coach Dirk Koetter & Co. fired ex-defensive line coach Jay Hayes last week, and Monachino is the first known candidate to take over the job. At present, it’s unclear whether Monachino was offered the role following his interview, or if Tampa Bay plans to interview more contenders before making a decision, per Stroud.

Monachino, 51, had been Indianapolis’ defensive play-caller for the past two seasons, but wasn’t retained when the Colts hired a new coaching staff. Indy finished as a bottom-six defense in DVOA during both of Monachino’s years at the helm, but given the Colts’ lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball, blame can’t be laid solely at Monachino’s feet. A longtime NFL and collegiate coach, Monachino has also spent time with the Jaguars and Ravens.

Tampa Bay’s defensive line was even worse than Indianapolis’ in 2017, as the Bucs finished dead last in both sacks and adjusted sack rate. As such, adding extra pass rushers figures to be one of Tampa’s top priorities this offseason.

Colts Hire Ted Monachino As DC

4:37pm: The Colts have officially confirmed their hiring of Monachino as the team’s new defensive coordinator.

1:24pm: Ravens head coach John Harbaugh scooped reporters and the Colts on some coaching news out of Indianapolis today, telling the media that Baltimore linebackers coach Ted Monachino is joining the Colts as the team’s defensive coordinator, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Colts fire defensive coordinator Greg Manusky]

The Colts’ search for a new defensive coordinator didn’t take long — less than 48 hours have passed since word broke that the team had decided to part ways with Greg Manusky. Manusky had joined the Colts’ staff in 2012, around the same time Chuck Pagano was hired. However, unlike Pagano, Indianapolis’ former defensive coordinator didn’t receive a new contract this week.

Monachino will be tasked with turning around a Colts defense that finished 27th in the NFL in total yards per game (379.1) and 25th in points per game allowed (25.5) in 2015. Indianapolis’ notable free agent signings a year ago included front-seven players Trent Cole and Kendall Langford, but they didn’t contribute much to improving the defense’s performance – despite a career-high seven sacks from Langford – so we’ll see what direction Ryan Grigson goes this time around. The Colts will have a top-20 draft pick this year — perhaps that first-rounder will be used on a defensive playmaker.

Alex Marvez of FOX Sports first reported that Monachino, who has some history with Pagano in Baltimore, would be a strong candidate for the Colts’ DC job. Before joining the Ravens as their linebackers coach in 2010, Monachino served as the defensive line coach in Jacksonville for several years.

Coach Rumors: Payton, Browns, Colts, Jags

With six NFL teams currently in the market for a head coach, the future of Sean Payton has been one of the biggest questions marks around the league this week. We may soon have an answer on what 2016 has in store for the Saints head coach, though perhaps not as soon as initially expected. According to Evan Woodbery of the New Orleans Times-Picayune (Twitter link), Payton’s Wednesday afternoon press conference has been postponed by an hour, to 2:00pm CT.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Saints are hoping GM Mickey Loomis can convince the longtime head coach to remain in New Orleans. However, if Payton decides he wants to pursue another job, the Saints will shift their focus to playing interested teams off one another in order to drive up his price, per Rapoport.

As we wait on Payton’s presser, let’s round up several more coaching-related notes…

  • It looks like the Browns will be the first team to get a shot at interviewing the Bengals‘ coordinators. With Cincinnati scheduled to play on Saturday night, Cleveland plans on interviewing Bengals OC Hue Jackson on Sunday, tweets Rapoport. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com adds (via Twitter) that Bengals DC Paul Guenther is scheduled to meet with the Browns on Sunday as well.
  • Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link) hears that Ravens linebacker coach Ted Monachino, who has a history with Chuck Pagano, will be a strong candidate for the Colts‘ defensive coordinator vacancy.
  • Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley indicated today that he’s prepared to cast a wide net for the team’s newly-opened defensive coordinator position — while there may be in-house candidates in Jacksonville, Bradley intends to do due diligence (Twitter link via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com).
  • It sounds like 49ers linebackers coach Clancy Pendergast may be headed back to college. Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets that Pendergast has been offered USC’s defensive coordinator job – a position he held in 2013 – and has received interest from Oregon too.

Coaching Notes: Marrone, 49ers, LeBeau

Former Bills coach Doug Marrone is interviewing with the Jaguars, according to Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida Times-Union. Marrone hasn’t landed a head coaching gig since he left Buffalo and he’s ostensibly interviewing for the Jags’ offensive coordinator opening. Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson, Dallas offensive line coach Bill Callahan, Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn, and Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson are also considered candidates for the opening. More coaching news..

  • Vic Fangio is not expected to stay in place as the 49ers‘ defensive coordinator under new coach Jim Tomsula, a league source tells Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group (on Twitter).
  • Jason Tarver is in line to join the 49ers‘ as their defensive coordinator, according to Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News (on Twitter). Former Bears head coach Marc Trestman, meanwhile, is a possibility for the offensive coordinator job.
  • Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians plans to promote an assistant to fill the team’s vacancy at defensive coordinator, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic tweets. Meanwhile, he hopes to hire Dick LeBeau as a senior assistant.
  • It sounds like Teryl Austin is planning to bring Ravens linebackers coach Ted Monachino with him as defensive coordinator if he gets the Falcons job, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter).