Rex Ryan going to Buffalo — but that’s not bad news for Falcons

Dan Quinn, here with Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, should still be Falcons’ top choice. (AP photo)

Dan Quinn, here with Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, should still be Falcons' top choice. (AP photo)

Dan Quinn, here with Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, should still be Falcons’ top choice. (AP photo)

UPDATED: 4 p.m.

In my recent summary of the mess in the Falcons’ front office and my read on the coaching search, I listed my top four candidates in this order: 1) Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn; 2) Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles; 2) then-coaching free agent Rex Ryan; 4) New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

So it follows that I don’t think there’s any reason for panic that the Buffalo Bills are set to hire Ryan, even though appeared to be favored by Falcons owner Arthur Blank. Blank liked the potential Ryan would bring in defensive philosophy, enthusiasm and marketability, but he clearly wasn’t ready to make him an offer last week or he would have — and I don’t blame him.

I also believe what the New York Daily News reported: That Ryan preferred the Falcons’ job, partly for family reasons, as well as quarterback Matt Ryan, but ultimately he didn’t feel like he was fully embraced by general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

Here’s by view of the dynamic in the Falcons’ front office:

• Blank has restructured the organization so that Dimitroff and the new coach will report to him separately. Blank clearly desires to become more involved in football operations, a debatable decision. There also has been some dispute who suggested certain personnel decisions in recent years when Mike Smith was coach. Ultimately, Dimitroff makes the final call but he has long been opposed to forcing players on his coach. Blank having the two report to him separately eliminates the potential for miscommunication.

• Ryan would’ve potentially been a bigger problem than any other candidate because he’s the loudest personality. He would have had Blank’s ear and would’ve been more likely to blame the front office if the Falcons’ season jumped the rails.

• I still believe Quinn is the best candidate. The Falcons obviously would have to wait at least one week to hire him, or three weeks if Seattle wins next week’s NFC championship game if they go to the Super Bowl. But the biggest concern remains not the Falcons would have to wait for Quinn but that they might not get him. It’s believed he’s the New York Jets’ top target and Quinn, being a New Jersey native, might be leaning in that direction.

• UPDATE: If the Falcons don’t want to wait for Quinn — or are convinced he’s going to New York — they could hire Bowles as early as this week. Via our Darryl Ledbetter on Twitter:

• Of the other two seemingly serious candidates, I’d take Bowles over McDaniels, although McDaniels called a great game in Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff win over Baltimore, including a 51-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Julian Edelman to a wide open Danny Amendola (which tied the game 28-28).

• Finally, there’s another report that Bowles’ interview with the Falcons last “five hours,” much like Ryan’s lasted, “five hours” — as if that’s a big deal. When NFL teams interview for a potential head coach, they don’t have him fill out an application and wrap it up in 45 minutes. There are a number of issues to go over: the coach’s philosophy for offense and defense; his perception of the personnel; expectations for his coaching staff. That’s just a start. Blank also prefers candidates to interview with multiple parties in the front office.

There’s some panic going on in Falcons’ fandom that they need to hire a coach quickly. I disagree. It’s more important to get the right guy – and there was no reason to rush to get Rex Ryan wasn’t worth rushing into.


A recent writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— AJC: Nick Saban, the mercenary, takes on ex-Bulldog Jonathan Taylor
— MyAJC: Falcons’ backdrop not comforting for coaching search
— AJC: Falcons’ changes: Pioli’s role increases, so what does this mean for Dimitroff?
— AJC: How’s this scenario: Falcons vs. Giants and Mike Smith’s defense in 2015?
— MyAJC: Smoltz just wanted to survive, but he did so much more
— AJC John Smoltz, a Hall of Famer on many levels, gets the call
— AJC: Hall of Fame: Smoltz, 7 others checked on my ballot
— AJC: ROSE BOWL: Oregon mocks FSU, Winston with “No means No” chant
— MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: After 29 straight wins, Florida State morphs into grease fire
— AJC: ROSE BOWL: Short takes on Oregon’s win in semis
— MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: Is FSU most hated great team in college history?
— AJC: ROSE BOWL: Oregon’s Helfrich credits Falcons’ Koetter for his success
— AJC: ROSE BOWL (short takes): FSU an underdog for first time in 50 games
— MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: Will Jameis Winston prove to be worth risk in NFL?
— AJC: ROSE BOWL (short takes): Ex-Tech coach Charles Kelly’s challenge
— 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

Reader Comments 0

134 comments
Columbus68
Columbus68

Smith should not have been fired unless they knew who the next one would be. Demitroff should have been fired. There is ONE thing still in todays game that has always been true. The trenches. If you do not have the muscle on both lines, the rest does not matter much. Had the Falcons had a good OL that could run and pass block and a defensive line that caused problems and put pressure on the QB and made things easier for the rest of the defense, the Falcons would be Super Bowl contenders yearly. Falcons had NEITHER in awhile and that is unacceptable when that is the MOST IMPORTANT THING ON THE TEAM...ALL STARTS THERE.  IT IS THE FOUNDATION...WHOSE FAULT IS THAT? T.D.

Columbus68
Columbus68

It is MOST important to get the right guy. EVERYTHING else is secondary and that includes time. 

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

Watching the Cowboys - Packers game, Homie Aikman said, "So many Cowboys's contracts are up at the end of this season, but knowing Jerry Jones he will bring them all back."  That says the NFL salary cap limit is bogus.  It is only a recommendation, and not a mandate.  If you want to "Steinbrenner" a championship you just spend, spend, spend, and if the league says, "We fine you for spending so much," you pay the fine.  Since no one will be paying to go to the Falcons games at the new PSL Dome, Blank needs to break all the spending rules and buy his new head coach, (fill in the blank), a team that can win immediately.  Unless he is going to hire Oral Roberts to be this healer of his woeful franchise, he just needs someone with a coaching permit to win, as long as the biggest, faster, strongest, best tacklers, best catchers, best runners are signed and hyped up on steroids.  Kind of like what Barry Switzer did with the Cowboys after Jimmy Johnson left and there were still the players in place to win another Super Bowl.

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

Is Rex Ryan the type of coach that can handle the meddling owner standing on the sidelines? Smith had some problems and made some stupid decisions as well but he's got a bunch of scrubs on that team. White, Douglas, Jones, Ryan...that's not enough to get it done. They have a below avg OL, no running game, and a defense front 7 that probably wouldn't start for another team in the NFL. You can't make chicken salad out of chicken poop.


This team is in serious need of OL and DL. Jones is a stud but the fear was the number of picks we gave up would come back to haunt us. BOO!!

SOB
SOB

@dawgfacedboy No , and that is why Rex Ryan is in Buffalo. He is not a Yes man. He is a football man on a mission to win a Super Bowl. Mike Smith was a Yes man. Hence, his hire. Blank, Dimitroff, Pioli, the whole lot of them are wussies. Cowards at heart. That is why they hire lesser wussies like themselves so they can be in some semblance of control. All animals can smell fear. Rex most likely got one good whiff of it and most likely cancelled his second interview himself and rushed back to New York state to get the stench out of his nose. Rex probably told Artie you set one foot on my sideline and I'm taking your head off on national tv. End of Rex and continuance of the misery that is Losersville, USA.

jeeperscrow
jeeperscrow

@SOB @dawgfacedboy According to reports Ryan preferred the Falcons job. The Falcons decided to go another direction making this entire paragraph you wrote a bunch of crap.

Stock Market Guru
Stock Market Guru

@SOB @dawgfacedboy ...not true.


Ryan wanted the Atlanta job.  He would have a top-notch QB and he'd be living near his 2nd home and his son @ Clemson.  


Dimitroff and Piloi didn't want Ryan.  They realized he'd be Blank's new #1 and wanted to protect their turf.

jpfernandinadawg
jpfernandinadawg

When I attended Grady College at UGA, the student body really looked up to the AJC.  What has happened there?  Does any proof reading take place at all?  A third grader could spot the typos in this article, and it has so many mistakes it is truly difficult to read.  I read other sports sites (CBS, ESPN, BleacherReport) and never see the kind of errors that the AJC sports section is apparently fine with in its copy.  What a shame!  But I guess crappy sports writing is befitting a crappy sports town. 

SOB
SOB

@jpfernandinadawg I went there as well. Man, where are the Lewis Grizzards, the Furman Bishers, the Ron Hudspeths, the Celestine Sibleys nowadays? Was the torch not passed down to the younger generation? If the present AJC writers manage to crank out one ill advised and poorly written article in a week's time it is a minor miracle. Is there no pride of craft? I truly do not understand it. Like the Falcons themselves, there are way too many questions and not enough answers...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@SOB @jpfernandinadawg

It's all part of the steady deterioration of newspapers nationwide. 

Unfortunately for longtime readers of the South's largest newspaper, the problems have been compounded with introduction of this dreadfully ill-conceived website, where even signing in to comment represents a major challenge--multiple times daily.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

Any truth to the rumor that Peyton Manning is being offered the OC job?

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

I'm convinced Smith got fired because (1) Blank wanted this team in the Super Bowl or else, and (2) if that wasn't enough, because he cost the team a home playoff game with clock mismanagement. Other than that Smith was getting out of this team what any other coach would, or perhaps more.


Was Smith behind all the ill-conceived personnel moves? Hard to believe that is the case, but if it is I'd like to see Blank or TD stand up and lay out the case. Otherwise, yes, this is all showmanship on the part of the owner, and at that level it's disgusting.

PirateNC
PirateNC

Question: Is Mike Smith's name coming up for any of these other openings? I look at some of these names and I'm wondering why teams (other than the Falcons) aren't considering him. His resume stacks up pretty well against most of these guys. Don't get it.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@SteveY Yes, his mastery of 4th downs is a real highlight on his resume.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@SteveY

"Other than the Falcons"???

Uh, haven't you heard?! The Falcons fired Smith, so I don't believe they're "considering" him either.

JackClemens
JackClemens

Ryan going to the Bills is great news for the Falcons.

Joe Tess' Mom
Joe Tess' Mom

No way Sexy Rexy was coming to ATL after meeting with Boob #1 (Blank) and Boob #2 (Dummytroff). It's going to take a long time to get our roster in order after the last couple of years, and the Boob's in charge now won't get it done. Guess we'll continue to get Monster Trucks in the dome every January now instead of playoff football. YeeeeHaaawww!!


Oh yeah, today is day 1 for PSL sales...  Crickets chirping...

Redfin
Redfin

So what is it now?..........Are we playing musical chairs?..........Guess we're in a mad rush to grab a coach before getting caught with egg on our face.   It seems clear that the best coach left the organization a month ago.  "Bad Hair" Dummietroff is at the root of Falcons' problems and it's a shame Artie can't see the forest for the trees.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

I don't have a problem with Blank being involved in football operations, case in point Jerry Jones. Todd Bowles and Treyl Austin should be the head candidates. I really like Bowles and Austin has coached on Super-bowl teams. Austin could reel in Suh and Bowles can make this defense better. The offense is intact-- minus a good tight-end and a super offensive lineman. It's the defense that's the Elephant in the room. The Falcons has to have a coach who can come in a evaluate defensive talent. Plus cut some of the pork, some of these players don't deserve to be on this team. They simply lack talent, haven't been productive or are too injury prone. Reality is life and Blank has to be bold enough to hire the Falcons first black head coach.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@DarlaLewis: "I don't have a problem with Blank being involved in football operations, case in point Jerry Jones."

_____________________

Jerry Jones???

Say what?!

I don't believe I'd hold up that pompous, ego-driven fool as an example of anything positive. Where do you think Blank picked up the idea for those narcissistic, eye-rolling, and totally embarrassing sideline strolls?

Hell, Jones played the game, so he has even less excuse than Blank for his perennial FAILURES when it matters most--IN THE PLAYOFFS.

CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith
CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith

"Blank clearly desires to become more involved in football operations, a debatable decision. "  Debatable?  How about idiotic and stupid?

This bodes ill for the Falcons and makes it harder to find a really good coach.

Save your money, Artie, get off the field and turn football over to football people.  Your hat-size can't take too much more expansion. Your talents lie elsewhere - if talents you have.

northbysoutheast
northbysoutheast

@CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith I agree with you. Who wants to sign on as head coach for an owner known for prowling the sideline during close games. Blank wants to literally and figuratively look over his head coach's shoulder the entire time. I hate to say it, but I predict Blank runs the team into the ground (even more than he already has).

Bdavi104
Bdavi104

It seems that if we wait much longer we could lose out on all the best candidates. Bowles is the lead candidate for the 49er's as well and is schedule for his second interview already. Ryan didn't leave Buffalo after his second interview, what's to say the 49er's keep Bowles from leaving their facility without a contract? that leaves Gase, McDaniels, Austin, and Quinn. Quinn probably goes to the Jet's as reported, McDaniels stays in Boston also as reported, which leaves what? Gase and Austin. However, Chicago and Oakland are still looking to fill their HC vacancies as well. If we wait, we will not be selecting the "right guy", we will be selecting a guy because he is all that is left over. If we wait, the "right guy" will be coaching on another sideline next year

Stock Market Guru
Stock Market Guru

@Bdavi104 ....you guys blew it.  Rex Ryan would have had you in the SB in 2 years.  Your GM and his friend Pioli are sabotaging the team to protect their turf.

SOB
SOB

@Stock Market Guru @Bdavi104 Totally agree. Rex wiill probably have Buffalo there in 3 to 4 years. He wanted to come to Atlanta. Blank and his moronic yes men blew it. Pure and simple.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Stock Market Guru @Bdavi104

He couldn't get the Jets there in 6 years--and had a losing record to boot. 

And you expect him to take the hapless Falcons to the SB in 2 years?!

How much have you lost on the Stock Market so far?

SOB
SOB

Gold dang it! We are looking at another rookie first time head coach, paired with a mentally impaired rookie first time owner, sandwiched in on both sides by a a first time mentally and physically impaired General Mis-Manager. God, can this franchise not do anything right??? Matt Ryan should demand an immediate trade to a winning organization. Sheesh. Pull the plug on this in-bred group of bozos. Josh McDaniels? TD's favorite butt boy? You can't make it up, I tell you. Falcon fans are cursed  by the ghost of Jed Clampett.. We are becoming the laughing stock of the league and say good bye to any worthwhile free agents. Not one in their right mind would want to jump into this cesspool of ineptness, mis-management, and down right stupidity. Losersville, USA is the black hole from which there is no return...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@SOB: "God, can this franchise not do anything right???"

_______________________

Only if winning ZERO championships in nearly half a century is your measure.

etherdome
etherdome

The Falcons need a great deal of help on the defensive side of the ball.  This does not make sense, given the fact that Mike  Smith is an ex-defensive coordinator.  Never the less, here we are.  


Both Bowles and Quinn are respected DC's.  Dan Quinn has seen a great deal of success in Seattle, but it should be recognized that he works under Pete Carroll and has top notch personnel.  Todd Bowles has had to make due with subpar personnel.  


It should be noted that Bowles also run primarily via a 3-4 set.  Quinn is more of a 4-3 guy.  With the additions of Soliai and Jackson, Bowles schemes may be a better fit.


The only concern I have is that both candidates have no head coaching experience.  Having said that, I believe that Bowles is our man.    

Wilbo
Wilbo

"Blank clearly desires to become more involved in football operations, a debatable decision."


Debatable decision? You might be even loonier than I previously thought.


That is an absolutely horrible decision, that clown suited fruitcake doesn't know diddly about football. It amazes me he is so stupid as to think he is a professional football man.

Chop_Chop
Chop_Chop

@Wilbo He has owned an NFL team since 2002 and (along with Bernie Marcus) built The Home Depot from the ground up, so he probably has a better idea about how to run an organization than any of us do. He's had seven winning seasons in thirteen, compared to eight winning seasons in 36 for the Smith family. Blank is no fruitcake.

SOB
SOB

@Wilbo Blank is a megalomaniac. Pure and simple. Incurable. Lost in a haze of delusions of grandeur.

CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith
CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith

@Chop_Chop @Wilbo  Football, if you hadn't noticed, is not a lot like nails and boards.  Yes, managing a business is a good talent, it's just not the football business.  Render unto HD that which is HD...and leave the football ops o football guys.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Chop_Chop @Wilbo

Pretty pathetic when you have to be happy with seven wins in 13.

How has he done in the POSTSEASON, when the games REALLY matter?!

Hello?

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

Why didn't the press report Rex Ryan's telephone conversation (albeit somewhat short and to the point): 

Ryan picks up ringing phone..."Hello, who is this this?" (dialog on other end)...

Ryan (again): "Thanks, but NO THANKS!" (hangs up phone.)


SnoopyDawg
SnoopyDawg

Thank goodness for the Bills!!  Hiring RR & the circus he brings would not have been good in the ATL..


Hopefully Quinn will want to come to the Falcons!

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

If Arthur Blank would have been on the field earlier in the games, none of this would have happened.

MikeBeavers
MikeBeavers

Suddenly the Falcons seem to be on a suicide course toward a long term visit to the basement of the NFL. Arthur has lost his mind. There is no hope .