Fans are waiting impatiently for the Falcons to name the replacement for Mike Smith, who was released from his contract after the conclusion of a 6-10 2014 season. Let's round up the latest news and rumors about the Falcons' head coach search to get a sense of where they are in the process.
We know that the Falcons have requested permission to speak with or have already interviewed current special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, former Bills head coach Doug Marrone, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and former Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
It's probably going to be a few days before we know anything definitive. Reports indicate that the Falcons plan to have a second round of interviews with their top candidates.
The #Falcons plan on bringing in finalists for another round of interviews, and my understanding is Rex Ryan will be among them.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 7, 2015
Atlanta's interviews with Todd Bowles and Teryl Austin will take place today and tomorrow, respectively.
#Falcons coaching interviews for Teryl Austin and Todd Bowles were pushed back to Friday and Saturday because of the passing of Molly Blank.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) January 8, 2015
We know that Bart Scott can't wait to tell everybody how great his former coach Rex Ryan is, as he expressed in this great read from ESPN's Vaughn McClure. McClure mentions that Ryan is believed to be Arthur Blank's favorite candidate, and Blank did indicate that the final say in the head coach hire is his alone.
And while Rex Ryan may be Blank's favorite candidate, reports are circulating that Ryan's preferred destination is San Francisco due to his affection for the Niners' quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.
Hearing Rex Ryan’s first choice is #49ers, followed by #Falcons. What’s not known: Who’s atop 49ers’ list.— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) January 8, 2015
It's reasonable to assume, based on history and existing relationships, that the favorite candidate of Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli should be Josh McDaniels. Jason LaCanfora basically confirms it.
What do Falcons players want in a new head coach? Well, Roddy White says he prefers an older coach, for one thing.
Roddy White on with @680_The_Fan right now. Giving his thoughts on coaching search. Says he prefers an older coach.— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) January 7, 2015
Todd Bowles is apparently making a strong impression on teams in his interviews. It may move him to the top of a number of teams' lists, including Chicago. Bowles was the first candidate the Bears' new GM, Ryan Pace, interviewed.
Hearing Todd Bowles making very strong impression in head coaching interviews. I expect him to be a factor in this game of musical chairs— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 8, 2015
New Bears GM Ryan Pace wasting no time jumping into job: taking part in Chicago's interview of Todd Bowles.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 8, 2015
In terms of other vacancies in Atlanta following the Bucs' hiring of Dirk Koetter, Kyle Shanahan is now available, although his name is also in the mix for head coach roles in Buffalo and San Francisco.
As far as the restructuring of responsibilities for Dimitroff and Pioli, Albert Breer said that coaching candidates are open to working with Dimitroff.
On Falcons, team wanted to give coaching candidates clarity on structure. Yesterday did that. Candidates amenable to working w/Dimitroff.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 8, 2015
What are your thoughts on the head coach search so far? Which candidate is your favorite?