The Atlanta Falcons have yet to officially select their next head coach, but all signs seem to suggest that it will be none other than current Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. The Falcons are unable to hire Quinn until the Seahawks are eliminated from the playoffs, which could come as soon as this weekend, but could also be compelled to wait until after February 1’s Super Bowl XLIX.
The Falcoholic’s Jeanna Thomas cites a league source that confirms this expectation. ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reports that the Falcons have yet to set up a second interview with Quinn, but likely will early next week when the window appears. Since the Falcons interviewed Quinn at the start of the postseason, they are allowed to interview him a second time regardless of the outcome of this week’s NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. Teams such as the Denver Broncos, who were unable to interview Quinn a first time due to their presence in the postseason, won’t have access to him until the Seahawks’ postseason run has ended.
The Falcons conducted a second interview with Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Wednesday and Thursday, following the hiring off another candidate in Todd Bowles by the New York Jets on Tuesday. However, Austin left Atlanta last night without receiving a contract. And while McClure reports that Austin has yet to be eliminated from the Falcons’ coaching search, it is clear that it has become Quinn’s job to lose. Austin was originally set up to interview with the Broncos for their coaching vacancy today, but that interview was canceled after Austin withdrew his name from the search.
The Broncos interviewed offensive coordinator Adam Gase for the vacancy on Thursday. Gase is considered a strong candidate to land the same position in Atlanta should the team decide to hire either Austin or Quinn. Some have already connected the dots that Gase is already a packaged deal with one of the two candidates, presumably Quinn.
The Falcons hired former Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner to help consult on business aspects of the organization, but that quickly transformed into assisting in the team’s search for the next head coach. A year ago, Quinn was a candidate for the Browns’ head-coaching vacancy, but the team opted not to wait until after the Super Bowl and hired Mike Pettine instead. Banner indicated that the decision to not wait was the “toughest decision of the entire process.” It appears that Banner’s consultations have instructed Falcons owner Arthur Blank to not make the same mistake.