The Falcons' offseason has been a decidedly mixed bag early on, with the team re-shuffling its front office, going through some drama with Rex Ryan and just generally suffering through some odd leaks and re-alignments. All of that was troubling, but my thought all along has been that as long as they get a quality coach and acquire better players, we'll forget that drama shortly.
The Falcons can still get a quality coach. It may even be Todd Bowles, who has been gaining a ton of steam as the team's reported top candidate. But as has been the theme this offseason, there's a wrench in the gears.
It's entirely possible Todd Bowles know he's going to take the Falcons job and the Falcons were confident he was going to take the job, making this a leverage play. It's equally possible that Bowles is genuinely interested in the Jets job and they managed to get him in the door first, which is troubling given how attractive the Atlanta job seems on the surface. We forget these guys have free will, so the Falcons couldn't compel Todd Bowles to come in before he went to New York.
That said, the fact that he's electing to head to an organization with no quarterback and an enduring reputation for dysfunction before a second interview with Atlanta does not necessarily bode well. It says that even though Rex Ryan clearly jumped the gun to go to Buffalo—that second interview was likely coming—the criticism of the Falcons for moving slowly and/or sending unclear signals may have an air of truth to it. That's deeply disconcerting.
If Bowles is out of the picture—and we'll know by tonight or tomorrow one way or the other—then Teryl Austin is the obvious top choice. He's a man on the rise in the NFL and clearly an in-demand defensive mind, but he doesn't have a tremendous amount of experience and he'll unfortunately be followed by the idea that he was the Falcons' second or third choice. There's a small chance the Falcons could elect to wait for Seattle's Dan Quinn at this juncture, but I have to think that's a bit of a long shot.
When this offseason started, I genuinely wanted the Falcons to fulfill Arthur Blank's promise of a thoughtful, deliberative process to bring in a new head coach. I still think that approach is the right one, but if Todd Bowles truly was the top candidate for the Falcons and they were looking to bring him into the fold, this team's inability to land that second interview ahead of a competitor troubles me.
Concerns out of the way, we'll wait to see how this situation plays out. It's entirely possible I'm overreacting. What are your thoughts?