Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
The first-year Falcons coordinator will get his interviews, but it's not the best market for a defensive-minded head coach.
With the news that Dirk Koetter has been re-signed to a two-year deal, everyone's eyes have now turned to defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
There has been major concern from Falcons fans that Nolan could be picked up by a team in need of a head coach, given that there's seven f them out there right now. In a different year and with different teams looking at him, Nolan might be a serious contender despite his ugly record from his stint at the head coach of the 49ers. After all, he's a defensive guru, a widely respected coach and someone who brings a hard-nosed yet player-friendly air to a team.
For those worrying, I'm here to allay your fears. Nolan is being interviewed, alright, but it's in the worst possible market for a defensive-minded coach.
Out of the seven teams who canned their coaches, only one is looking for someone who brings defensive expertise, and that's the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have been strongly linked to Ken Whisenhunt and Lovie Smith already, and there's been no word that they've pursued Nolan. Literally every other team searching for an HC is looking for offense.
The Eagles and Browns have been linked to Chip Kelly. The Cardinals and Chiefs are looking for a quarterback-friendly coach to rescue them from the dregs of the NFL's passing barrel. The Bears want someone who can get the most out of Jay Cutler. The only team that isn't completely in on an offensive guy besides the Bills might be the Chargers, but it's been hard to get a read on them as they pursue a GM first.
Given that list, it's extremely unlikely that Nolan is going to get another shot. With Andy Reid, Whiz, Lovie Smith and some talented college coaches kicking around, very few teams are going to seriously consider Nolan, no matter how good he might be on the second go-around. These teams simply aren't shopping for defensive upgrades.
I also suspect that poor Keith Armstrong is being used as a Rooney Rule interview by many teams, rather than being treated as a serious candidate. It would be hard to argue that the respected Armstrong, who has done a marvelous job with the Falcons' coverage schemes and is well-liked by players, shouldn't be a serious contender for a host of jobs. I guess we'll see.
Talk Nolan, Armstrong and teams' coaching searches here.