The Falcons coaching search is under way. On top of them giving interim head coach Raheem Morris an interview, they will also begin an extensive search on Monday, beginning with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. And according to a report today from NFL.com, Atlanta is doing their due dillegance on three other candidates as well — Arthur Smith, Brandon Staley, and Todd Bowles.
Smith is the mastermind behind the resurgence of Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans offense. Tannehill has thrown a career-high 33 touchdowns compared to just 9 interceptions in what has easily been the best year of his career. Brown is also responsible for putting together the second-best rushing offense — behind only the Baltimore Ravens — led by Derrick Henry, who has rushed for over 2,000 yards this season. Having a brain like that running the show during the twilight years of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones’ careers would be quite refreshing after spending the last two years with Dirk Koetter as the offensive coordinator.
Staley has gone from an under the radar name to one of the hottest young head coaching candidates in the league overnight. The 38-year-old only has one season of defensive coordinator experience under his belt, but he’s been able to turn what was a slightly above average Rams defense from a season ago into one of the most feared units in the league.
Bowles is the veteran of this group. After impressing as the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, he received his first opportunity as a head coach with the Jets. Bowles did manage to win ten games in his first season in New York, but they narrowly missed out on the playoffs, and he was unable to replicate that success. After the 2018 season, the Jets fired Bowles, and he was hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their defensive coordinator — a position he still holds today. By opponents yards per game, the Bucs currently have the sixth-best total defense and are the cream of the crop when it comes to rush defense, allowing less than 80 yards per game.