Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that Eagles GM Tom Heckert remains the favorite to land the Falcons GM job according to league sources. Heckert could be named the team’s new GM as soon as this weekend. The Falcons are reportedly in talks with USC head coach Pete Carroll about the possibility of him joining the team in potentially both capacities as coach and GM. But even those reports suggest that something is expected to happen soon.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank has indicated that whomever the team hires as GM will have the power to choose to the team’s next head coach, despite the fact that the team has conducted six separate interviews of prospective coaching candidates in the past week, including one today with Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Heckert is among five candidates that have formally interviewed for the Falcons GM position, although one in Chris Mara, withdrew his name from consideration this past week.
Domowitch reports that if Heckert is hired as GM, the favorite for being his choice of head coach is New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The Falcons requested permission to interview Spagnuolo, but were denied by the Giants due to their upcoming playoff game this weekend. It was reported that if the Giants were to lose, it was likely that Spagnuolo would be made available to interview.
Domowitch also reports that if Spagnuolo is hired, current Philadelphia Eagles QB coach Pat Shurmur would be a probable choice as the Falcons new offensive coordinator.
ProFootballTalk.com also reports that Patriots college scouting director Tom Dimitroff is also a front-runner as far as Falcons GM candidates go.
Michael C. Wright of the Florida Times-Union reports that the Falcons will interview Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith later this week.
Smith, 48, joined the Jaguars in 2003 as their defensive coordinator. Prior to that stint, he was a defensive line coach for the Baltimore Ravens for four seasons. His prior coaching experience all came at the collegiate level where he coached at San Diego State (1982-85), Morehead State (1986), and Tennessee Tech (1987-98). Smith played one season at linebacker with the Winnepeg Blue Bombers of the CFL in 1982.
Not to be confused, the Falcons have already interviewed a candidate for the GM job from Jacksonville, their director of college socuting Gene Smith.
Steve Wyche of the AJC also reports that the Falcons conducted an interview of Patriots director of college scouting Tom Dimitroff this past weekend via satellite. Dimitroff has been considered a top candidate for the team’s vacant general manager position.
The Falcons have requested permission to interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels according to Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe. Reiss cites league sources indicating that McDaniels will be a candidate for both the Falcons and Baltimore Ravens. The Falcons are also said to be courting Tom Dimitroff, the director of college scouting for the Patriots, as a potential general manager for the team.
McDaniels, 31, was in charge of the league’s No. 1 scoring offense this year. McDaniels broke into NFL coaching ranks with the Patriots in 2001 as a defensive and personnel asssistant. In 2004, he was promoted to quarterbacks coach and began coordinating the offense in 2006. Prior to that he was a gradudate assistant at Michigan State for two years, following a playing career as a wide receiver at John Carroll University.
Dimitroff, 40, was promoted to his current position prior to the 2003 season, a year after joining the Patriots. Prior to his experience with the Patriots, he worked as a scout for the Cleveland Browns (1998-01), Detroit Lions (1994-97), and Kansas City Chiefs (1993). He also worked in the World League (1992) and Canadian Football Leagues (1990-91) as a personnel assistant. His father, Tom Dimitroff, Sr. spent a single season with the Boston Patriots in 1960 as a quarterback. Dimitroff in the past has been a candidate for other GM vacancies including the Miami Dolphins (2005) and Minnesota Vikings (2006), and at one point has been considered the heir apparent to current Patriots GM Scott Pioli in case Pioli decides to move on.