The New York Daily News has a rich treasure trove of Falcons news nuggets. Manish Mehta has comments from sources about the future of the Falcons' coaching staff. The article is worth it just for the photoshopped Rex Ryan (spoiler: sources like Rex Ryan's chances in Atlanta).
OK, here is the photo.
So this is happening this morning. pic.twitter.com/JRYzse9dbI— Matt (@FalconsM5) December 7, 2014
What is the biggest news from this article? Here are some of my favorite quotes.
On current head coach Mike Smith:
The feeling is that Blank will make a coaching change after the season, even though the 5-7 Falcons could win the weak NFC South.
"I think Smitty’s fate is sealed," the source said of Smith.
This report echoes another report from not even a month ago suggesting Smith is on his way out and owner Arthur Blank is eyeing a big name coach. Getting to seven wins and putting up another embarrassing playoff loss is not enough for Smith to stay in Atlanta.
On Blank's thoughts of current Jets head coach Rex Ryan:
"Arthur wants a tougher team," a source familiar with Blank’s thinking told the Daily News. "He wants guys that have an edge to them." Blank, a native of Queens, is a Ryan fan.
The owner came away with a favorable impression of the then-Ravens defensive coordinator during the head coaching interview process in 2008. Two sources believed that Ryan had the inside track at the time thanks to a solid first interview with Blank and team president Rich McKay before general manager Thomas Dimitroff was hired.
Won't Dimitroff hit the brakes on this "Hire Ryan" 12-speed?
This article, in line with previous reports, suggest Dimitroff is no guarantee to be back in 2015.
It’s unclear whether Dimitroff will be retained, but signs point to Blank making the call on the coaching hire.
"I believe Arthur will hire the next coach, not Thomas," the source said. "That’s if he even keeps Thomas."
But why not hire Ryan as a defensive coordinator?
Ryan is expected to draw interest from some of the six or more teams likely to have head coaching vacancies after the season. He will opt for a television job over another defensive coordinator position, according to people close to him.
Smith being sent packing with his sandals is no surprise. The team is struggling for the 2nd year and the staff seems content with trying the same thing week in, week out.
Dimitroff may need a stroke of luck to keep his job. The man who has gone into hiding since Atlanta's early struggles in 2013 may be Atlanta's General Manager in 2015 only if the new coaching staff agrees. If the new coach is Rex Ryan, do not be surprised if he tries bringing in someone he knows and trusts after dealing with poor General Managers for his entire time in New York.
Rex Ryan is a bit more surprising. He is a name commonly tossed around as a potential Mike Smith replacement, and fits the bill as a big name who can give the team some attitude. At the same time, Ryan has has consistently struggled with his team's offense.
Lastly, the article probably needs to be read under the belief that Rex Ryan, or his agent, is the source for a good deal of this information. Blame is placed on the Jets poor roster and interest is being drummed up in Ryan under a month before teams will begin to hire new head coaches.
Next, Atlanta is likely Ryan's first choice in a head coaching spot. The team has filled a number of important positions: franchise quarterback, elite wide receiver, building block left tackle, and some young defensive talent to work with. The team is willing to spend money, there will be opening a new stadium in a few years, and previous coaching staffs have gotten ample time to turn around the franchise.
I do not doubt that Ryan is one of the names being bumped around Blank's head, but I am less confident he is the team's top choice.