The Atlanta Falcons, looking for an improved pass defense, have hired Tim Lewis as the team’s secondary coach.
Lewis was the defensive backs coach for the Seattle Seahawks this season and is a former defensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants. He was Carolina’s secondary coach in 2007-08.
Lewis replaces Emmitt Thomas, who was not retained after the Falcons ranked 28th in passing yards allowed this season. The Seahawks ranked 30th.
Pro Bowl additions
Falcons wide receiver Roddy White and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith have been added to the Pro Bowl roster for the NFC.
White will replace the Vikings’ Sidney Rice, who pulled out of the game because of wear and tear from the NFC title game.
White will make his second straight Pro Bowl appearance after leading the Falcons with 85 catches for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. He will be the Falcons’ only player in the game.
Smith will play in his first Pro Bowl in place of injured Kevin Williams of Minnesota. Smith is the fifth 49ers player on the roster, joining running back Frank Gore, tight end Vernon Davis, linebacker Patrick Willis and punter Andy Lee. Gore also was a replacement pick.
The Oakland Raiders hired Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator, hoping that the man who helped develop Joe Flacco in Baltimore can do the same for JaMarcus Russell. … The Baltimore Ravens have hired former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees as their new linebackers coach. The 60-year-old Pees ran New England’s defense during the past four years. … Former 49ers Pro Bowl punter Tom Wittum died from cancer at age 60. … The NFL’s medical committee is discussing giving players echocardiograms in the wake of Chicago Bears defensive end Gaines Adams’ death this month. Adams died of an enlarged heart, something an echocardiogram can detect. NFL teams typically conduct echocardiograms only when other test results suggest a need. … The first meeting of the Mackey-White Traumatic Brain Injury Committee was held Tuesday in Palm Beach, Fla. The committee includes past and current athletes, doctors and researchers. The group wants to open a dialogue on brain injuries in pro football.