3. Dean Pees retiring and Atlanta adding Ryan Nielsen and Jerry Gray
Dean Pees deserves immense respect for what the veteran coach has accomplished in this league and for having a great football mind. However, due both to coaching and a lack of talent it was clear that a change was needed for the Atlanta defense. Pees wasn't consistent and struggled to make the right adjustments even in obvious situations.
Dean opted to retire at the end of the 2022 season and the Falcons started their search for a new coordinator. Instead of making one splashy addition the Falcons brought in two uniquely qualified coaches with Jerry Gray becoming an assistant head coach and Ryan Nielsen taking over the defense.
Both coaches and Arthur Smith will have a hand in the Atlanta defense moving forward with a great trio now coaching the most talent Atlanta has had on that side of the ball in a long time.
Gray and Nielsen have to be considered upgrades over Pees even with the veteran's impressive resume. This was the right move for the Falcons and an underrated add for a team that clearly is going to play a unique brand of football under this coaching staff.