The Atlanta Falcons plan to interview Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt today for their vacant head coaching position. Whisenhunt is the first scheduled interview for the team after firing head coach Jim Mora on Monday. Whisenhunt played for the Falcons between 1985 and 1988 as a tight end before ending his playing career with the New York Jets in 1992. Whisenhunt has been the Steelers offensive coordinator since taking over the position from Mike Mularkey in 2004.
Under Whisenhunt’s leadership, the Steelers won Super Bowl XL last season. The Steelers offense ranked 5th in total yards this past season, with previous rankings of 16th and 14th in 2005 and 2004, respectively. Whisenhunt’s offenses have featured strong rushing attacks, ranking as high as 2nd in 2004, 5th in 2005, and 10th this past season. The passing game has steadily improved under his leadership, ranking 28th in 2004, and then improving to 25th in their Super Bowl year. But ranked 8th this past season.
Prior to his promotion, Whisenhunt served as the Steelers tight ends coach for three seasons, where. He served in that same position in 2000 on the New York Jets coaching staff. He was also the tight ends coach for the Baltimore Ravens for two seasons (1997-98). He also coached Cleveland Browns special teams in 1999.
Whisenhunt is a local, born on February 28, 1962 in Atlanta, GA. He attended Georgia Tech, where he ranked second in the school’s all-time receiving yards list and fourth in career receptions. He went on to have a productive seven-year NFL career. In four seasons with the Falcons, he caught 56 passes for 551 yards and 5 touchdowns. In one season with the Washington Redskins (1990) and two with the New York Jets, he caught a total of 6 passes for 45 yards.
Whisenhunt is considered one of the leading candidates among current NFL assistants for various positions around the league. His name has been mentioned and linked to current open vacancies in Miami and Arizona. He was considered an early favorite for the vacant Oakland Raiders job last season that eventually went to Art Shell. He also conducted a phone interview for the vacant St. Louis Rams position that wound up going to Scott Linehan.