Arthur Smith hasn’t filled any spots on his staff formally just yet, but we’re starting to get a sense of who the new Falcons head coach is interested in. That short list has thus far included Bears passing game coordinator Dave Ragone and Panthers wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson for offensive coordinator and longtime, quasi-retired defensive coordinator Dean Pees for a similar role in Atlanta.
You can now add Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon to the list, with the interesting note from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that he could serve as a co-defensive coordinator with Pees. Based on that report, presumably a condition for Pees coming back to the NFL at 71 years of age would be that he has a capable, younger coach to split the work with.
Gannon is a name heating up in NFL circles, evidently, as the Bears have requested to interview him for their own defensive coordinator vacancy.
Report: Bears Request to Interview Colts DBs Coach Jonathan Gannon; Colts QBs Coach Marcus Brady a Texans O.C. Candidate https://t.co/o1AeJsxelH pic.twitter.com/6RxTgRnsRW— Stampede Blue (@StampedeBlue) January 18, 2021
Gannon has spent the previous three seasons as the Colts defensive backs coach after spending four seasons as an assistant defensive backs coach with the Vikings for four years. He’s drawn attention for his work with the Colts secondary, an improving unit, and likely based on the strong recommendation of Frank Reich, one of the more well-regarded head coaches in the league today. It’s a safe bet that Gannon would handle something like a defensive passing game coordinator role if he was paired with Pees, but like everything else with Smith’s staff, we’ll have to wait and see.
In addition to Gannon, I’d hope the Falcons would take a closer look at Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn. A respected former player and personnel scout for the Jets from 2012-2013, Glenn has spent the past five years as the Saints’ defensive backs coach, helping to lift a once-terrible secondary to a much more respectable level. Glenn was in play for the Jets head coaching gig this offseason and could be a strong addition for Atlanta in a defensive coordinator role, and new general manager Terry Fontenot would know him well.
We’ll see who the Falcons scoop up for their coordinator openings soon enough, including at special teams coordinator, where we’ve yet to hear any names.