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Falcons Close To Hiring Jags' Mike Smith

They've entertained Spagnuolo, Sparano and Schwartz, and they settle on Mike Smith? That can't be his real name, can it? My urge to come up with a clever nickname is going to tax my brain over the next few months.

More importantly, this supposedly soon to be confirmed hire represents the evolution of the process once Dimitroff came on. At the beginning of the month, we all heard about how much Arthur Blank wanted to make a big splash with his coaching hire. That quickly led to me nearly having a heart attack when the team began courting USC Coach Pete Carroll, and many questioned whether the new GM was getting a fair chance to guide the process. In getting Smith, as bland and as quality a choice as he is, the team has given a nod to Dimitroff that suggests Blank and McKay are going to stay the hell out of it for once.

Smith himself is an interesting candidate. I'm not going to start my jumping jacks based on an "Everyone Sucks at Portin' News" story, of course. Still, he's presided over a talented defense, appears to be quiet and efficient and as far as I know doesn't have the timeout skeletons in his closet that Rex Ryan did. He's just a solid choice with a few years of good to excellent coordinating under his belt. If that and player evaluation is all they based this hire on, you can still color me thrilled. It's a hell of a lot more than we got from Petrino.

Stay tuned on this one; they're expected to hold a press conference mid-afternoon.