The Atlanta Falcons have to feel good about Dan Quinn right now. He's facilitated a defensive transformation that's admittedly still in progress but undoubtedly trending in the right direction. He took off the governor and is allowing this team to take chances again. As a result, the wins have been more numerous than the losses this year and the playoffs are in sight. But not every NFL team is so lucky.
In two months or sooner several NFL teams will fire their head coaches. Those head coach vacancies will need to be filled. Per the usually well-informed John Clayton, Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's name is likely to get a lot of traction in the months ahead. It's an Insider article, so unless you have access, you won't be able to read it. But here's the relevant portion about Shanahan:
In his second year with quarterback Matt Ryan, Shanahan has put together one of the most exciting offenses since the St. Louis Rams had the "Greatest Show on Turf." It's Shanahan's time.
Other familiar names floated by Clayton are Josh McDaniels, Todd Haley, and Jim Schwartz. (His list actually includes 16 potential candidates, for what that's worth.) I don't necessarily disagree with Clayton. Shanahan has fielded an impressive offense this year. That said, there are some red flags. First, Shanahan has a shaky history with franchise quarterbacks. Second, his success this year is arguably a product of the players he's lucky enough to coach. Third, Shanahan is young and hasn't had the sort of sustained success teams will search out. Fourth, his inability to right the ship last season is troubling.
My best guess? Shanahan interviews for a couple jobs and ultimately stays in Atlanta another year. Your thoughts?