The Falcons reportedly interviewed Saints defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen on Tuesday, according to a report by NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Nielsen has been with the Saints organization since 2016.
Nielsen got his coaching start at the college level, spending two seasons at Northern Illinois and four seasons as the defensive line coach, recruiting coordinator and run game coordinator at North Carolina State. Nielsen left the college ranks in 2016 to join the Saints coaching staff as New Orleans' defensive line coach, a position he has held since. It was there that Nielsen met Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot, who spent 18 seasons in the Saints front office.
The Saints defensive front has been one of the league's best for the last decade. According to the Saints official website, since 2017 (and before the 2022 season), New Orleans ranks third in the league in sacks (233), and from 2017 to 2020 put together 55 regular season and postseason games without allowing a 100-yard rusher.
More so, during Nielsen's time in New Orleans, the Saints have ranked in the top 10 in sacks in four of the last five seasons prior to 2022. They have had a top five run defense in four of those seasons, too.