Falcons’ candidates: Odds say McDaniels, I say otherwise

Should Josh McDaniels (center, between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick) be considered favorite for Falcons’ job? (AP)

Should Josh McDaniels (center, between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick) be considered favorite for Falcons' job? (AP)

Should Josh McDaniels (center, between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick) be considered favorite for Falcons’ job? (AP)

Bet on New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as the Falcons’ next head coach.

Or not.

But according to the online sportsbook Bovada.com, McDaniels, who flopped in his first head coaching job with Denver but remains highly regarded in NFL circles, is the favorite among six candidates listed by the site for the Falcons’ vacancy. Here are the six, with my thoughts on each:

— Josh McDaniels, New England OC (5-2): McDaniels’ biggest mistake in Denver was pushing the Broncos to draft quarterback Tim Tebow in the first round. Even most Tebow fans would acknowledge he would’ve been available in the second of third round. But McDaniels showed in other ways he just wasn’t ready to be a head coach, going 8-8 in his first season and then only 3-9 in the second before being fired. He and the team also were fined $50,000 each after the Broncos’ director of video (hired by McDaniels) were caught videotaping a San Francisco 49ers walk-through before a game in London (reminiscent of “Spygate” in New England). My view: McDaniels is a talented coach. The question is whether he has grown up and matured. His boss, Bill Belichick, certainly did after failing in his first head coaching job with Cleveland. Worth noting: McDaniels and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff are friends from their early days in New England together.

—  Teryl Austin, Detroit DC (11-4): The Falcons need to fix the defense and they can do that one of two ways: Hire a strong defensive coordinator (like Mike Smith was in Jacksonville) or hire an offensive coach with a strong coach and personality with a defensive background (Rex Ryan, for example). Austin has been the Lions’ defensive coordinator for only one year but the team finished second in total defense to Seattle and third in points allowed (17.6).  He mostly coached defensive backs in his career, previously with Baltimore, and secondary coaches often make good head coaches because of their ability to understand coverages and offenses. Austin also was Florida’s defensive coordinator in 2010 but left after Urban Meyer’s resignation. I like Austin but, like many candidates, he’s never been a head coach before.

— Rex Ryan, ex-N.Y. Jets coach (3-1): He makes sense on many levels for the Falcons. He’s one of the best defensive coaches in football, players generally love him and he would bring the buzz that owner Arthur Blank is looking for. The Falcons need to re-create some excitement after two down seasons, particularly with their move into a new stadium on the horizon. I don’t know how much of what went wrong in New York was Ryan’s fault because, well, it’s the Jets. But Blank might feel hiring a head coach who failed to make the playoffs in his last four seasons (after playing for the AFC championship twice) would be too difficult a sale. It would be an interesting hire, to say the least.

— Todd Bowles, Arizona DC (5-1): He’s a legit candidate. The Cardinals allowed only 18.7 points per game this season (fifth best) and went 11-5 this season largely because of their defense (using three quarterbacks because of injuries). Bowles has an Atlanta tie: He coached the secondary and defenses at Morehouse in 1997, then worked his way up from Grambling to six different teams and was impressive in Philadelphia before going to Arizona in 2013. He will get a head coaching job at some point, if not this offseason.

— Adam Gase, Denver OC (5-1): He’s turned Peyton Manning into a Hall of Fame quarterback. OK, not really. But Manning has become a big fan in a short amount of time, and Gase is considered one of the top offensive coaches in the NFL. Gase is only 36 years old. He was a quarterbacks coach under McDaniel but was retained by new coach John Fox, who then promoted him to offensive coordinator. The biggest question: Is he ready for this jump?

— Dan Quinn, Seattle DC (5-1): He’s my personal favorite for the job, but that’s based on nothing other than the Seahawks have had one of the NFL’s best defenses during his two-year tenure. Seattle has had an ability to create great defenses with mid-round draft picks and some street free agents. The constant debate is how much of Seattle’s success should be attributed to Quinn. Head coach Pete Carroll is a former defensive coordinator, and Quinn’s predecessor, Gus Bradley (now head coach at Jacksonville), implemented the concepts that Quinn is using. But in their 2013 run to the Super Bowl under Quinn, the Seahawks led the league in points allowed, yards allowed and takeaways, the first defense to do that since the 1985 Bears. Doesn’t Quinn get some credit for that?


A recent writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— AJC: Weekend Mini-Predictions: Locals win, Bama and Oregon to finals
— MyAJC: It’s Arthur Blank’s show now, and that could be a problem?
— AJC: Falcons fire Smith, keep Dimitroff, and here are some candidates
— MyAJC: Falcons are done, and so it Mike Smith
— AJC: Say goodbye to Falcons, Smith, but Blank handled this poorly
— AJC: Falcons hire search firm — hey, nice timing, Blank
— MyAJC: Julio Jones has reaffirmed his worth to Falcons
— MyAJC: Christmas is 12 days? Well, this calls for presents
— AJC: With Bobo gone, should Richt call plays again at Georgia?
— MyAJC: Even amid gloom, Falcons showing positive signs
— AJC: Hey Hawks, here’s your chance to get Josh and Joe back!
— MyAJC: Falcons can make most of this illogical journey
— AJC: Short takes: Falcons stun Saints, and it’s thanks to the defense
— AJC: Live: Falcons finally in a can’t-lose situation
— MyAJC: Falcons still have playoff shot — and that’s not a negative
— MyAJC: There goes Justin Upton, and maybe ’15 season with him
— AJC: Justin Upton is latest chapter of Braves’ strip down
— MyAJC: Ranking Atlanta’s head coaches, from Budenholzer to…
— AJC: After crushing Cavs, Hawks (18-7) have earned some attention
— MyAJC: Expect Falcons’ roster overhaul, regardless of finish
— AJC: 5 thoughts on Falcons, starting with Arthur Blank’s marketing problem
— MyAJC: John Hart: ‘It’s not like I’m breaking up the ’27 Yankees’
— AJC: Falcons reality check: One great half won’t get it done
— AJC: What would it take for Falcons to keep Mike Smith
 — MyAJC: Hawks go from off-cour embarrassment to on-court success
— AJC: Playoff committee got teams right but changes are needed
— AJC: Jimbo Fisher leaves Georgia off ballot; Bielema puts Tech 19th on his (huh?)
— AJC: Playoff committee got teams right but changes are needed

Reader Comments 0

83 comments
SeanLB
SeanLB

The hate for TD is hilarious.  I know he has misses, but didn't he put the roster in position (again) to make the playoffs after a quick rebuild before Smitty dumbed it away with poor clock management this season?


Say what you want, but in reality, this roster SHOULD have had a winning record, WON the division, and currently be hosting a HOME playoff game.  Smitty cost them that.  That's why he's gone and TD is still here.


Our fanbases for Atlanta sports teams are hilarious...you can't get rid of MATT DIAZ or broken down Kris Medlen.  How dare you consider letting go of Josh Smith! He's the human highlight reel!  Haha...when we realize that we don't know what we're talking about, we'll start seeing that some of these execs are making the right (albeit tough) decisions.



TreeRollins
TreeRollins

@SeanLB Dear Sean (or should I say Thomas - this is Thomas Dimitroff really - right?),  the Falcons did not have a single player voted in the NFL's top 100 players according to a survey of NFL players this past summer.  If you think Dimitroff is making the right decisions, then you alone should buy tickets next year (unless Arthur lets you sit in the luxury box again like he did this year).


Hiring coaches with records that are worse than Smith's is not the formula to make this team better.  Although I know you're the one guy on this thread that thinks you know and Arthur Blank know more than anyone else!  That's why he hired guys like Bobby Petrino and you (Thomas) brought in guys like Sam Baker, Osi, Tyson Jackson, Dunta Robinson and Ray Edwards. 
Keep up the fine work sir!

cspecial
cspecial

i would have given mike smith another season but i guess after sunday"s debaticle it was time for a change.the hiring of rex ryan would be the best move as well as the hiring of  a qualified offensive coordinator would also make sense.ryan would make the defense get after people and with matt ryan on offense, all he would have to do is to score 20 or more points and the falcons would be hard to beat.roddy white andjackson ahould be replaced on the offense which shouldn"t be hard to do.todd gurley should be available when they draft.he will be 100% when the summer rolls around.rex ryan would bring the kind of toughness needed to get to the next level.

Reidtt
Reidtt

If they hire Josh (Little Man Syndrome) McDaniels, I will never go to another Falcons game. The guy is a dipshit. I swear that would be the WORST thing Blank could ever do. After two previous flops (Mora and Quitrino), he needs to hire a head coach with EXPERIENCE.

Mastacow53
Mastacow53

Fo the love of God, please don't draft McTebow. Stop trying to be New England. Every team that has tried has failed.

candlin14
candlin14

I just read an article talking about how Dimitrioff was begging to draft pass rushers the last two years but Mike Smith and Mike Nolan thought we needed to address the defensive from inside-out therefore Dimitrioffs hands were tied resulting in the signing of Soliai and Jackson.


Not sure what to believe but if this is true, I would take a little heat of Dimitrioff for that simple fact. If it isnt true, hang TD right now by the balls.

The_Shade
The_Shade

Hiring Rex Ryan would be like adding a grease fire to a train wreck.  He would be "interesting" for a few months but do you really want him as the face of your franchise?  Josh McDaniel would be exactly the opposite.  He would dull you to death.  We need someone who has proven ability to evaluate talent and then put that talent in the best position to excel.  That's why Mr. Blank needs to "release" the GM from his contract as well.  One other idea.  The Falcons need to allow one fan in each of their press conferences.  That person could ask the really tough questions without worrying about repercussions.  Just my $0.02.

stillwaiting1345
stillwaiting1345

How about Gary Kubiak? How come no-one mentions his name. He has HC experience and Texans played hard nose football while he was

coaching. He is defensive minded coach and he can certainly right the ship

dirtybird33
dirtybird33

Rex is the right choice. If we can't land him then I like Todd Bowles from Arizona. It's amazing what a villain Arthur has become in the ATL. Amazing!

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

If Blank was smart, haha, (where is Bernie Marcus when you need him) he would hire some previously successful football person to hire and develop a winning front office team that could put the Falcons on the road to success.  But, the one thing AB has never suffered from is lack of misplaced confidence in his abilities.


Based on Blanks previous hiring decisions, I have zero confidence that he will make the right choice.

Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly

Rex Ryan teams love him to death but they played only one game, the last game, for him. Sort of an in your face performance like, we can play this way, you just never asked. The Ryan teams have no discipline and Rex has a habit of completely missing those small details during a game and prepping that makes the diff between a championship and second place, missing the playoffs teams.  The players will love him in Atlanta and the press will love him even more. The wins however will not surface. He has never made a team better by being on the property.

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

@Paul Kelly  Jets had the Patriots defeated two weeks ago until the kicker missed a very makeable FG in the last moments of the game.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@PalmBeachFalcon @Paul Kelly

Two questions.  In the past four seasons, how many times has Ryan been "deep into the playoffs" and what is his won/loss record?


Answers:  Zero and 26-38

mic404
mic404

Todd Bowles, would be the right choice.

LakeHarding
LakeHarding

All the good defensive coaches you mentioned have great talent that the Falcon do not. It’s easy to see as you watch the other elite teams that their talent is much superior to Atlanta's. Their speed, size and athleticism is not present on our Atlanta team.


ATLFan
ATLFan

My money is on Rex Ryan to be the next Falcons head coach - simply because its all about the money. Mr. Blank needs to generate a buzz around the team to sell those PSL's and increased ticket prices for the new stadium. Remember how Jerry Glanville started putting more fannies in the seats, like him or not? It's hard to imagine any of these other guys generating much excitement around here, so I think Rex is a lock.

Ihateorange
Ihateorange

Nobody associated with Dimwit should be allowed anywhere close to the organization.  Why is he still here anyway ??  HE is the one who should have bee fired....

50Concept
50Concept

@Ihateorange don't bother thomas---he's working on another deal to trade 5 picks for another wide receiver---julio getting old!

JAS0N
JAS0N

"He makes sense on many levels for the Falcons. He’s one of the best defensive coaches in football, players generally love him and he would bring the buzz that owner Arthur Blank is looking for."


You think Rex Ryan is a good coach dude?

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

@JAS0N  YES.  Who else available could take Mark Sanchez and that terrible Jets offense to TWO conference championship games?? And we HAVE offensive weapons already

50Concept
50Concept

rex will take the job for a boatload of money and benefits---his wife is hot!  but she may find ATL too lame for her style.  Rex may take the chicago job.

JazzHouse
JazzHouse

The best candidate is Rex Ryan. Say whatever ya want, the guy knows defense. He takes no names and has them playing physical and crazy. Ryan also has the big personality we love down here in South.


Rex Ryan's problem was he never had an offense in New York or owner willing to spend. Well he would have both here in Atlanta. Blank will spend money (not always wisely) and we have offense that can score with anybody in league.


It should be Rex Ryan.


If its Josh McDaniels I will be sick to my stomach for years watching this team. All those 3 yard passes and bubble screens and draw plays he liked to run in Denver and New England is not the kind of offense I want to watch 16 Sundays a year. That stuff is weak sauce.


Todd Bowles has a little more to prove than a good year in Arizona. 


Gase? Peyton Manning makes every OCoordinator look great.


Forget all the crazy NY press last few years, Rex Ryan is without a doubt the best HC choice for Atlanta. Pair him with a good Ocoordinator and I would be ecstatic. We would contend for division every year.


~Falcons fan for last 29 seasons.

50Concept
50Concept

@JazzHouse if there is a salary cap, can certain owners spend more money on players than other owners?

nazanyar
nazanyar

Why isn't Jack Del Rio on the list?

SeanLB
SeanLB

@nazanyar Because he is just like Mike Smith.  Next question.  

MaxMose
MaxMose

Just hire assistants and have Arthur on the sideline handing out money for motivation - no head coach needed

PantherDawg
PantherDawg

I don't think we even need a head coach. Just let the coordinators do their jobs. Save the money for free agents!

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

This city has lost faith in King Arthur and his loyal servant Dimitroff. Dimitroff has Arthur's ear. He will tell him to hire McDaniels.

The wheels are falling off this train!

patriotdog
patriotdog

And finally, Arthur talks about " Building the brand". It's why the Falcons were on "Hard Knocks", which was thoroughly entertaining, even though Smitty didn't want the distractions.

Arthur will learn, as have many owners before him, that you put a good product on the field and "The Brand" builds itself.

The. NFL is a line of scrimmage league. The Birds haven't won the line o scrimmage since Grady Jackson, Todd McClure, Harvey Dahl and Tyson Clabo were lining up on their respective sides of the ball.

Ihateorange
Ihateorange

@patriotdog  And why is that patriot ?  I'll tell you why....  because Dimwit traded/cut/got rid of the talent on both lines of scrimmage so that they could back the brinks truck up to Matt "I throw at least one horrible interception per game" Ryan.  That's why.

candlin14
candlin14

What justification is there that any of these guys are better then the coach we let go. What a joke. I am from Columbus, GA and I'm one of few Falcons fans here in Denver. I can assure you of two things:

1) josh McDaniels is terrible. I will lose my mind if he is hired.

2) Denvers O-Coordinator right now is not the answer either

Blank has really F'd up here. Terrible call firing Smith without a for sure replacement.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Schultzie, all of these assistant coaches on your list have succeeded because they are good coaches coaching talented players. The Falcons don't have too many talented players. Babineaux is aging but still effective at times, Trufant and Alford, if he recovers, are solid. Who else on D do they have? I don't know that any coach could have done much with this years' roster of has-beens, never were's, and a very few legitimate NFLers.

I won't make excuses for Smith, but I doubt he forgot how to coach. Maybe the botched timeouts were an aberration, maybe he was pressing too much and panicked, who knows? But the one irrefutable fact is this: Never been a coach won anything with sub-par players.

Now...who built the roster? Why is he still occupying his office in Flowery Branch?

jimbroski23
jimbroski23

What has Dimitroff done that makes him exempt from firing?  Is there any indication he will be kicked out?  Mike Smith had his problems, but his biggest problem was lack of talent. I don't care who the head coach is if the "management" team remains the same.

Rory_Bellows
Rory_Bellows

I've said it many times before. Rex Ryan is Jerry Glanville in drag. It's a poop storm I want to avoid. 

Redfin
Redfin

@Rory_Bellows .......Must have read my mind.......thought exactly the same thing.

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

@Rory_Bellows  I've seen you post that many times.  Still haven't laughed.  Rex Ryan is who we need.  Brings toughness that we are sorely lacking.  Get a good OC in here with him and we will be set.

SaintsInLosAngelesBy2020
SaintsInLosAngelesBy2020

Hiring coordinators is a crap shoot. Are these guys really good, or are they looking good becasue they happen to have good players at the momnet? (Think Gene Chizik at Auburn.) 

Dan Henning was the hot OC with the Redskins when he came here. That was a disaster. Atlanta did not have the personnel, namely John Riggins, to run a one back offense. 

 Mike Smith turned out pretty good, just did not seem to have the killer instinct needed to put games away. 

 Gase may be too young. The young head coaches do not seem to do real well or stay too long. John Gruden is a notable exception, though he ended up with a 57-55 record in seven seasons with Tampa.

 Whomever gets the job, I hope they are a fundamentals guy that brings discipline, conditioning, and a philosophy of beating down your opponents at the line of scrimmage on both sides. (Think Nick Saban. Saban is not coming back to the NFL, just saying someone with that mind set.) I would like to see the Falcons get back to good rushing game too. These games with 50 or 60 yards on the ground, 80 on a good day, are not condusive to winning football. 

Mora-less-Petrino
Mora-less-Petrino

@JSSN I said Gruden is "a" notable exception, Tomlin would certainly be another. Guys like David Shula, Lane Kiffin, Raheem Morris, and Josh McDaniels are examples of guys that probably needed another decade as a coordinator before taking command.

JSSN
JSSN

@SaintsInLosAngelesBy2020

Oh they had a running back to run it, they didn't have a line, H-Back, or the wideouts to make people respect the bootleg when a one legged Steve Bratkowski tried to pull it off.

No, the "notable exception" is Tomlin. How old do you think he is? Even with his 8-8 seasons, he's gonna blow the doors off the wins by 50 list if hangs around.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@JSSN 

Tomlin will blow the doors off the "modern" list of wins by 50 - he'll never pass Curly Lambeau

gfw
gfw

Sorry, but if Dimitroff doesn't go, it's frankly hard for me to care who he hires as head coach.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

McDaniels would be a disaster. The others aside from Ryan are unknown quantities. Ryan is just like Smith - can't win with a weak roster - he'll have the same thing here.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

I don't much care for any of them. How about Brian Kelly of Notre Dame?

JSSN
JSSN

@TreeRollins

Not happening, he'd be going to the Bears before Atlanta. He learned his lesson from jumping from UC to Notre Dame. He worked for free in actuality his first season because of his buyout clause. It will be 2016 or 2017 before he jumps again most likely!