Raheem Morris and Robert Saleh may not be the leading candidates for the next head coaching job in Atlanta. There’s a rumor going around that Atlanta is looking for an offensive-minded head coach, perhaps Tennessee’s Arthur Smith or Kansas City’s Eric Bieniemy, and Morris is part of the old regime and an interim coach who did admirable work but couldn’t get the Falcons above four wins on the season. Chances are good that both of those candidates will land elsewhere, and most fans are probably comfortable with that.
There is an interesting report from Michael Silver making the rounds that may chance that calculus for some fans, however. Those who have been clamoring for the Falcons to go back to Kyle Shanahan’s old staff to run the offense may be interested to learn that Morris apparently would look to bring 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel as his offensive coordinator, while Saleh reportedly will look to snag Mike LaFleur as his offensive coordinator.
1) If Falcons interim HC Raheem Morris, who interviewed in Atlanta Friday (and who, according to @JosinaAnderson, will interview with the Jaguars this week), gets a head coaching job, look for him to target 49ers run-game coordinator Mike McDaniel as his OC...— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) January 5, 2021
Matt LaFleur was the one that go away for many Falcons fans, but his brother Mike and McDaniel have been with Shanahan for years and have been raised again and again as offensive coordinator candidates across the league, though nothing has come of it to this point. With Matt LaFleur ascendant in Green Bay and the innovative young offensive coach trend continuing unabated in places like Cincinnati (with Zac Taylor at head coach) and Carolina (with the inexperienced but talented Joe Brady at offensive coordinator), it’s inevitable that clever coaches with deep ties to Shanny were going to step into larger roles elsewhere.
This makes it clear that the mild friction we thought we saw between Morris and Dirk Koetter this season was real enough that Morris is not planning on taking the most reviled man in Atlanta with him elsewhere, and he’s now interviewed in Atlanta and will in Jacksonville. Saleh is drawing plenty of interest as well, and it will help both defensive-minded coaches to link themselves to well-regarded coaches like McDaniel and LaFleur, who have seen their stars rise since they left Atlanta.
Does this report change your mind about Morris or Saleh at all, or are you still hoping for different candidates?