Steelers News

Falcons Hire Ryan Nielsen, Not Brian Flores, As New Defensive Coordinator

One potential job opening for Brian Flores is off the board. The Atlanta Falcons have hired Ryan Nielsen to be their new defensive coordinator. The team made the announcement moments ago.

Brian Flores was reportedly in the running for the job. But as he waits to see what the Arizona Cardinals do with their head coach vacancy, the Falcons are moving on and filling their open spot on the coaching staff.

Flores’ opportunities are down to two. The Cardinals’ head coaching gig and the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator position. Flores has already interviewed for both with the Vikings interview the most recent one, taking place Thursday. There’s been no report of Flores having a second interview with the Cardinals. He has ties to new GM Monti Ossenfort, the two working together in New England.

Still, Flores is considered a favorite for the Cardinals’ job, especially after Dan Quinn took himself out of the running, opting to stay with Dallas for 2023. Those who follow Arizona closely believe the decision will come down to Flores versus Sean Payton, who recently met with the team. The Cardinals have interviewed other candidates including Vance Joseph, Aaron Glenn, and Ejiro Evero. It’s logical Flores is waiting for word on the Cardinals’ job before accepting a potential coordinator position. But the longer the Cardinals wait, the more likely it is Minnesota targets someone else.

Pittsburgh would not receive any draft pick compensation if Flores left for either job. The Steelers hired him in February to be their defensive assistant. He worked closest with the inside linebackers this season. Pittsburgh finished with the tenth-ranked scoring defense in 2022, up ten spots compared to one year ago.

Across the NFL, there are four head coaching vacancies remaining: Arizona, Denver, Houston, and Indianapolis.

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