The Atlanta Falcons announced yesterday that they have hired Bryan Cox to become the team’s defensive line coach. Cox was approached earlier this week to interview for the vacant position due to the team dismissing former defensive line coach Ray Hamilton at the end of the 2013 season, after six seasons on the job.
Cox previously worked with Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan as a pass rush coach in Miami in 2011. Prior to that, Cox played under Nolan when he was the defensive coordinator of the New York Jets in 2000. The past two seasons since his stint with the Dolphins, Cox has served as the pass rush specialist coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prior to his time in Miami, Cox worked under Eric Mangini as a defensive line coach with two separate organizations: New York Jets (2006-08),and Cleveland Browns (2009-10). Cox began coaching in 2006 after playing 12 seasons as a linebacker in the NFL from 1991-2002. He made the Pro Bowl three times and won a Super Bowl ring in 2001 with the New England Patriots, where he played under Mangini.
Under Cox, the Buccaneers saw improvement with their pass rush each year. Prior to his arrival, the Buccaneers were dead last in the NFL in sacks with 23. In 2012, that figure improved slightly to 27 but then jumped to 35 in 2013, ranking 23rd in the league. The Dolphins also saw minor improvement from 2010 to 2011, improving their sack total from 39 to 41. Cox’s arrival in Cleveland in 2009 coincided with a unit that improved from 17 sacks in 2008 (ranked 30th) to 40 sacks the following year for a ranking that tied them for eighth in the league. His final season in New York in 2008 also saw a top 10 ranking, where the Jets tallied 41 sacks on the season, good for seventh best in the NFL.