The biggest open secret currently in the NFL is that Dan Quinn will be the next head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Numerous reports over the last week have stated the last head coaching vacancy in the league is for the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator's taking, and both sides are simply waiting until the Super Bowl wraps up.
Quinn, 44, met with Atlanta’s front office for a second interview earlier this week following Seattle’s improbable comeback win in the NFC Championship, and it reportedly “went well,” according to CBS Sports.
Quinn’s rise to the Falcons top job seems so evident that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is already breaking down who his coordinators will be in Atlanta.
After his abrupt parting with the Cleveland Browns, Kyle Shanahan is expected to sign on as Quinn’s offensive coordinator in Atlanta, CBS Sports also reported. And the Journal-Constitution stated that either Seattle linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. or defensive passing coordinator Rocky Seto are candidates for the Falcons defensive coordinator position.
Quinn does seem like the perfect fit for the Falcons. The team finished last in the NFL in total defense and against the pass, and had the second-worst pass rush in the league with 22 total sacks. Quinn’s astounding success with Seattle in two short seasons could be a huge boon to Atlanta.
After successful runs as a defensive line coach with San Francisco, Miami and the New York Jets, and two seasons at Florida, Quinn’s schemes have put Seattle’s defense well atop the NFL. They’ve led the league in total defense and points allowed the last two years, all under Quinn.
League rules prohibit any coach from agreeing to a new job until his current team’s season has finished, so Atlanta can’t offer him the position just yet and Quinn certainly can’t agree to it until after Feb. 1’s matchup with the New England Patriots.
If, however, there is any sort of hiccup between Quinn and the Falcons, current Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin could be next up.
Holding interviews with the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, as well as the Falcons, Austin was one of the hottest candidates in the league but was not hired. According to reports, only Austin and Quinn were called back by the Falcons for second interviews.
The Lions are reportedly preparing for him to return next season, and much like Quinn, the 49-year-old Austin quickly turned Detroit’s defense around. In 2013, the Lions were No. 16 in total defense, but in one year Quinn morphed Detroit into the No. 2 defense in the league.
But after Austin, there’s very few prime candidates to tab. Former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan interviewed with the Falcons but was apparently never offered the job and was quickly hired by Buffalo. Todd Bowles decided to accept the New York Jets vacancy rather than meet with Atlanta for a second time.
And many other candidates are off accepting coordinator openings around the league. In the last few days alone, the Bears reportedly hired both former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and former 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.