The Falcons have either completed or requested interviews with more than a dozen head coach candidates, which includes all of the biggest names in the hiring pool.
Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick conducted in-person conversations with Arthur Blank while others were contacted virtually. The Falcons still have a handful of potential candidates who need to have their initial interviews, but it seems all signs point in one direction.
Belichick was connected to the Falcons even before Arthur Smith was relieved of his duties, and those rumors only escalated when he and the Patriots parted ways as a job in Atlanta opened up. Still, it’d been nothing but conjecture, but the Falcons officially interviewed him and those rumors were substantiated.
It seems Blank is big game hunting, and Belichick is the biggest name on the market. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire; it’s why Dan Graziano of ESPN predicted that the Falcons will end up hiring Belichick.
My prediction for the next Falcons coach: Bill Belichick. I think he is the clear favorite here unless another job opens that has a quarterback already in place and offers him a chance to win those 15 games he needs to pass Don Shula atop the all-time list in short order — perhaps Dallas. Atlanta has already interviewed Belichick.
Belichick has only interviewed for Atlanta’s opening, so Blank may not have to compete with any other owners for his services. However, if a couple of jobs open up, like the Cowboys or Eagles, the Falcons could become a last resort for Belichick.
If that’s the case, Graziano believes Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, who has a connection to Terry Fontenot from their time in New Orleans, is someone to keep an eye on as a backup plan for the Falcons.
Glenn has been requested to interview but hasn’t completed it yet. He’s got over 30 years of NFL experience as a player and coach. He spent his playing days with the Jets, Texans, Cowboys, Jaguars and Saints while coaching in New York with the Jets, Cleveland, and New Orleans before following Dan Campbell to Detroit.
Perhaps his most attractive attribute is how well he connects to players. Glenn recently received more votes than any coordinator in the NFL in an NFLPA poll, which polled 1,700 players, to find the most liked coordinator in the league.
His ability to lead men cannot be questioned, but he hasn’t led Detroit’s defense to a top 10 ranking yet; in fact, the defense could be considered the Lions weakness. They are 19th in the league in yards allowed and 23rd in points allowed.
It’s fair to point out that Detroit’s defensive personnel leaves something to be desired. With the Falcons, he’d have All-Pro talent with Jessie Bates III, A.J. Terrell, and Grady Jarrett to go along with some damn good defenders in Kaden Elliss and David Onyemata.
The Falcons could do much worse than Aaron Glenn if that is their backup plan to Bill Belichick.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire