Changes continue with Collins promotion

The Atlanta Falcons continue to reshape their coaching staff Monday by promoting defensive assistant Mark Collins to outside linebackers coach and hiring Andrew Thacker as a defensive assistant.

"We are pleased to promote Mark to outside linebacker coach," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said in a statement. "He has proved to be a valuable part of our coaching staff the last four seasons and we are confident that he will continue to help develop our outside linebackers. Andrew is a young coach who has experience in major college football and we feel he will be an asset to our staff."

Collins has served as a defensive assistant and worked with the defensive line for the past four seasons. His new role could be related to the Falcons' possible switch from a 4-3 base to a 3-4 base defensive scheme. The players already are preparing for such a change.

Glenn Pires has been the linebackers coach since 2008.

Thacker joins the Falcons after one season as the safeties coach at Southern Mississippi.

The Falcons hired two new line coaches this season in offensive line coach Mike Tice and defensive line coach Bryan Cox. Wade Harman was brought aboard to be an assistant to Tice.