Falcons promote Manuel to DC, Young named defensive line coach

Marquand Manuel, who served as the secondary/senior defensive assistant for the past two seasons, was promoted by the Falcons to defensive coordinator to replace Richard Smith on Friday.

Former NFL standout Bryant Young will become the defensive line coach, and Doug Mallory, who was the assistant defensive backs coach, will replace Manuel.

Jerome Henderson, who was the passing game coordinator for the defense, likely will leave for San Francisco given that he didn’t land the defensive coordinator position.

After the bye week in mid-November, Falcons coach Dan Quinn became more involved in the defense and called more of the defensive signals. The defense improved while playing against lesser quarterback talents, but played in spurts against quality quarterbacks such as New Orleans’ Drew Brees in the regular-season finale.

Manuel, a former journeyman defensive back, has never called signals, but is highly respected by Quinn.

📝 - https://t.co/nbfKdt6wSO pic.twitter.com/9rJqLFW8WZ— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) February 10, 2017

Manuel caused a stir at the combine last season when he asked prospect Eli Apple if “he liked men.” The team held a training seminar with a league-approved counselor with the entire staff regarding social responsibility.

Manuel took responsibility for the inappropriate question, said it was wrong and apologized to Apple. Manuel had an individual counseling session of social responsibility.

“Moving forward, I will become a better man by going through all of this,” Manuel said.

Young, 45, was the defensive line coach at Florida in 2011-12 when Quinn was the defensive coordinator. He also coached in college at Notre Dame and San Jose State, but has no NFL coaching experience.

Young, a four-time Pro bowl selection, played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1994-2007 and was a nominee for the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. Quinn was with the 49ers from 2001-04 as a quality-control coach (2001-02) and defensive line coach (2003-04).

Mallory, just completed his second season as the Falcons’ defensive assistant/defensive backs coach.

Mallory, who played defensive back at Michigan, has was a 25-year college coaching veteran before joining the Falcons. He coached at Indiana, Army, Western Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Oklahoma State, LSU, and New Mexico.

Mallory is the son of Bill Mallory, who is the winningest coach in Indiana football history.