The Falcons didn’t hire Rex Ryan (who went to Buffalo but preferred the Falcons’ job) or Todd Bowles (who went to New York Jets and was never offered the Falcons’ job).
I understand the level of panic that exists in a perpetually damaged fan base. But here’s a reality check, people: The Falcons haven’t been turned down by any coach, yet, because they haven’t offered the job to any coach, yet.
As I stated in a blog Tuesday night, after Bowles agreed to a deal with the Jets, this coaching search has the potential to set up nicely for the Falcons. They can meet for a second time with Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, their apparent preferred candidate, after Sunday’s NFC title game. There’s also nothing precluding them from speaking to Quinn’s agent now and working out the parameters of a deal, even if Quinn can’t sign with the Falcons until after the Seahawks’ season is over (as early as Sunday, as late as after the Super Bowl).
If the objective for a team is to get its No. 1 candidate, nothing has been lost.
Of the other coaching openings, former Denver coach John Fox could be headed to Chicago, Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to Oakland, Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase to San Francisco and Baltimore offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to the Broncos.
If the Broncos don’t get Kubiak or keep Gase, they become players for Quinn. I don’t believe the 49ers will target Quinn because they seemingly are leaning toward an offensive minded coach to work with quarterback Colin Kaepenick. If the Fox and/or Del Rio hires fall through, Quinn also becomes a potential candidate there, but the Falcons are clearly a better job than either Chicago or Oakland.
UPDATES: The 49ers made a surprise hire, elevating defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to head coach as Jim Harbaugh’s replacement. Oakland hired Del Rio as expected. So that leaves three vacancies: The Falcons, Denver and Chicago.
If the Falcons get Quinn, all is good (assuming you believe in Quinn). If they don’t get Quinn, then there could be problems. The job would fall to Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels or another candidate.
On the chance it’s Quinn, I went back and read a Sports Illustrated story from August about the coach.
The headline on the story, written by Robert Klemko was: “The Next Great Coach.”
Immediately below the headline: “He’s obsessive in the film room, and his defense embarrassed Peyton Manning on the game’s biggest stage. But what really has Seattle coordinator Dan Quinn on the fast track is the trusting relationships he builds with players.”
Here are a few excerpts:
—> “… Quinn had been on the job less than two months when he got on the phone with Michael Bennett, then a free agent in Tampa Bay and a former Quinn pupil. It was March 2013, and the Seahawks had signed former Lions defensive end Cliff Avril less than a day before. With so many accomplished pass rushers on the Seattle roster, Bennett was skeptical. Quinn was emphatic. ‘He convinced me he would use me to the best of my abilities. I trusted that.’ Bennett signed on for one year, and Quinn delivered. He moved (him) from end to tackle in nickel packages, and a year later the Seahawks rewarded his 8.5-sack season with a $28.5 million commitment. ‘He’s not married to a scheme; he wants you to grow,’ Bennett says of Quinn. …”
—> “… For Quinn to become the Next Big Thing in coaching, his defense had to leave no doubt in Super Bowl XLVIII against Peyton Manning. In Quinn’s mind, that meant watching two years’ worth of Manning snaps in the week after the NFC Championship Game. That’s every snap Manning had yet taken for the Denver Broncos, watched, re-watched and mentally catalogued; 1,479 throws, 967 handoffs, 131 touchdowns, 24 interceptions and more audibles than there are minutes in a day. Says a close friend of Quinn’s, ‘He’s definitely an obsessive.’ …”
—> “… (Cleveland) interviewed him once following the (2013) season, and he planned to turn down a second interview request until after the playoffs. Before the Seahawks won it all, Cleveland inked Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who led a 20th-ranked defense which broke the franchise record for sacks (57) in a 6-10 season. The Vikings brought Quinn in as a finalist and passed in favor of longtime Bengals coordinator Mike Zimmer. Pete Carroll was frustrated for Quinn, yet relieved for the Seahawks. … Quinn, on the coaching fast track, hasn’t spent longer than two seasons in a city since 2004. ‘It was a coup to get him back last year, much less this year,’ Carroll says. ‘But I don’t want to look at it that way. I want to help Dan get whatever job he wants because he’s a great coach.’ …”
Some lofty praise. Now the Falcons just need to sign him.
— AJC: UPDATE: Bowles goes to Jets but if Falcons get Quinn it won’t matter — AJC: Falcons should talk to John Fox before making decision on Quinn, Bowles — AJC: Rex Ryan going to Buffalo — and that’s not bad news for Falcons — 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 — MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: Is FSU most hated great team in college history? — AJC: ROSE BOWL: Oregon’s Helfrich credits Falcons’ Koetter for his success — MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: Will Jameis Winston prove to be worth risk in NFL? — 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 is Mike Smith