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Report: Falcons have no front-runner for OC; Adam Gase and Gary Kubiak still in play

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A good dollop of updates has been provided on the OC hunt.

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

A big gust of updates on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator search has blown in courtesy of Jason Butt at The Athletic.

Per his report, the Falcons do not have a front-runner for the job at the moment, conflicting earlier assumptions that names like Darrell Bevell and Dirk Koetter had the inside track for the gig.

He also highlights some new news in the process, gives a bit of hope for Gary Kubiak fans and removes one name from previous connection for the job: Mike Mularkey.

The Mularkey news is the most definitive of the bunch, so let’s start there.

Mike Mularkey updates

We know he interviewed with the team recently, but it wasn’t for reasons previously thought.

According to a source, however, the Falcons were not considering Mularkey for this job. Instead, the Falcons were interested in speaking to Mularkey about a non-coordinator assistant coaching job.

Butt mentions the tight ends job that is now open after the team let go of Wade Harman, so perhaps that’s where Mularkey could be utilized?

He could also be someone the organization leans on to assist Dan Quinn in his game-day functions and clock management. If either of those things would be what they want Mularkey for, he’d be a good hire. It’s just reassuring to know he’s not potentially going to be calling plays again.

Let’s continue with the new name in the offensive coordinator hunt: Adam Gase.

Adam Gase updates

Butt brings up Gase as a potential candidate for the opening if the former Dolphins head coach does not land a new head coaching opportunity elsewhere.

If Gase strikes out on a head coaching opportunity, look for the Falcons to enter the picture, especially if Kubiak stays put. When Gase was in Denver, he coached a potent offense that saw Peyton Manning throw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns in 2013. It’s worth noting that the 2018 Dolphins ran the ball 44.9 percent of the time.

He mentions previously in the article that Dan Quinn wants to reemphasize the run game this upcoming season, and Gase does have that philosophy built into his offense.

Though, Quinn saw his elite Seattle defense dismantle Gase’s Broncos elite offense in the Super Bowl 48, so you wonder if that will cross DQ’s mind in making a decision.

Butt also pushed against the notion that former Falcons OC Dirk Koetter is the leader in the clubhouse for taking back his old job.

Within the Falcons’ organization, Koetter is not considered the favorite or front-runner for the job.

In addition, conventional wisdom would suggest that if Koetter was, or is, the leader for Atlanta’s position, he would have been hired after his recent interview.

He mentions that Koetter’s lack of focus on the ground game, which might not be in lockstep for what Quinn wants in the position. He was very pass-happy in his Tampa Bay days, after all. There’s a reason they were always high in the league in air yards per season.

He also mentions Bevell, though only to say that he’d be a safe fit and would meet what Atlanta would want out of its new coordinator. He has to be considered a real possibility to this point in the process, but it appears this process may last a while.

Gary Kubiak updates

For Kubiak fans, Butt provides a little bit of hope, and says the door isn’t fully closed.

While Denver blocked Atlanta from interviewing Gary Kubiak, which was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, there is still a chance Atlanta could get a crack at him in the end. This hinges on whoever the Broncos decide to hire as their next head coach. Kubiak wants to coach again but only as an offensive coordinator. Therefore, if the Broncos hire an offensive-minded head coach who wants to call plays or run a different scheme than Kubiak’s, general manager John Elway could reverse course and allow Kubiak out of his contract.

Elway is basically playing it safe right now. He doesn’t want to lose Kubiak if he doesn’t have to.

While this isn’t hope necessarily springing eternal, it enforces the idea that things are still a bit fluid in Mile High, and that nothing is set in stone. It’s not likely Kubiak gets away, but it’s not impossible, either. It looks like Atlanta hasn’t written him off completely.

While the Falcons were blocked recently from speaking with Kubiak, they aren’t ruling him out as a possibility just yet.

So it sounds like, per Butt’s report, Atlanta is absolutely going to take its time on this hire. He also mentions that the head coaching hires may filter through before a decision comes down so the team know exactly who it has to work with.

We’ll see how this all develops from here, but it sure looks like we’re still in the beginning of this coaching search with the Falcons.

Keep an eye on Gase, take a deep breath with ideas of Koetter (for now) or Mularkey, really take seriously the potential of Bevell and don’t give up with Kubiak.