Head coach Mike Smith started his Monday news conference with an announcement that defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder has accepted the same position with Auburn University.
VanGorder spent four seasons with the Falcons and came into the organization with head coach Mike Smith as the defensive coordinator.
The Falcons finished with the 12th ranked defense in the league in 2011.
"Brian has been an integral part of our success here over the last four years," Smith said at the top of his news conference. "I want to thank Brian and his family for all that they've done for our organization. This is a decision that Brian and his family have made and I want to personally thank Brian for all of his hard work and all the work that he's done to make us successful here in Atlanta."
Smith added later in his address to the media that the arrow pointed way up on the defensive side of the ball under VanGorder, and the numbers prove it.
VanGorder started his first season in 2008 with a defense ranked 29th the year before. At the end of his first season, the defense finished 24th in the league, then 21st in 2009, 16th in 2010 and 12th in 2011.