I don't think you can put too much on Nolan at this point when you consider the following:
- Falcons are starting 2 Rookie DB's + McClain with Samuel out.
- Falcons have lost their best LB in Weatherspoon and their best hybrid defensive player DE/LB Biermann.
- Falcons haven't gotten the bump in production from going with the younger Osi vs. the older Abraham.
The defensive line never really got improved over the post season and with our linebackers going down like flies there isn't much help at the second level and we have two rookies getting a lot of field time.
It's really hard to be critical of Nolan when so many players are either rookies, or backups. Injuries have decimated our defense. We all thought, at the beginning of the year, that we would have some growing pains in the secondary. Now we're starting two rookie FREE AGENTS at linebacker. That's four rookie defensive starters.
But here's the silver lining... For once, we actually have some young talent on the field. There will be growing pains. I've always felt that for players to truly develop, they need game reps. We're starting four rookies. Those four rookies have not looked horribly bad thus far, and they're gaining on the job experience. At the very least, we will have better, experienced depth going forward. On the other hand, if these guys turn out to be good, we'll have a pretty darn good defensive base at the end of the year/next year.