Mike Smith has been Jacksonville's defensive coordinator since 2003.
he directed the league's 12Th-ranked defense this season
after ranking second in 2006 and sixth in 2005. He now is charged
with restoring a Falcons team back to respectability. He takes over
following a tumultuous 4-and-12 season.

Smith inherits a team that needs an overhaul. The Falcons parted
ways with disgraced former quarterback Michael Vick, who was jailed
for nearly two years on dogfighting charges. Their previous
permanent head coach Bobby Petrino left suddenly late in the season
to return to college coaching.

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff says Smith "possesses all the key
qualities" to be a head coach with "high character and
integrity."

The 48-year-old Smith is a 26-year NFL coaching veteran.


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