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The situation: Dan Quinn hit some high points with the Falcons, including infamously holding a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI -- before losing to the Patriots. But after an 0-5 start in 2020 (including more devastating blown leads), Quinn was fired, along with GM Thomas Dimitroff. Raheem Morris took over as the interim coach, and has gone 4-5 since.

Graziano: So, in Atlanta, I think there's a factor that the other open jobs don't have, because the first question you ask is whether the interim coach can or should just keep the job. Morris has spent six years on the Falcons' coaching staff, coached on both sides of the ball and has head-coaching experience from years ago in Tampa Bay. They know him, they like him, and the team has played well since he's had the job.

I always say that if I had an open head-coaching job, I'd interview everyone I could (since you hope you don't get another chance for 10-plus years), but in a case like this, do you think maybe the obvious answer is right in front of Arthur Blank?

Fowler: Morris is definitely qualified, no doubt. He'll get a serious look. But I think even Morris went into this thinking he needed to post a big win total, and his 4-5 record might not be enough. Whomever the Falcons select needs to maximize a middling roster and an aging quarterback (Matt Ryan) whose $40 million cap hit will be hard to shed.

Marvin Lewis could make some sense here. The offense needs a multidimensional facelift, so the expertise of Titans OC Arthur Smith, Panthers OC Joe Brady or Rams OC Kevin O'Connell could add unpredictability.

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Graziano: That makes sense. Again, I'm not one for just picking a coordinator on the side of the ball you like best, but if I owned the Falcons I'd be thinking about someone who can maximize Calvin Ridley's future and whatever Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have left. The trick is to find the offensive mastermind who has the leadership qualities. That's why everybody who was trying to find the "next Sean McVay" a couple of years back was misguided. They were focused on the first part and missed the second.

What do you think about one of the coordinators we were looking at this time last year, Brian Daboll or Greg Roman? Either one of those guys strike you as more than just a scheme guy?

Fowler: Both are capable, but Daboll's versatility puts him over the top and will likely land him one of the jobs. He's modernized the Bills' attack and helped Josh Allen become a legitimate pocket passer. He's coached nearly every position on offense over the years, along with coordinator stints at the collegiate and NFL levels.

But I keep going back to Lewis here, because, to your point earlier, it's about leadership over playcalling cachet, and Lewis' run at Cincinnati was low-key amazing, looking back: seven playoff appearances and six double-digit-win seasons for a notoriously frugal franchise. That looks just fine against the backdrop of Cincinnati's recent struggles. Owner Arthur Blank is 78 and doesn't want to waste time here. Lewis is Arizona State's co-defensive coordinator, but I'm sure Herm Edwards will gladly let him go.

Graziano: Lots of ways the Falcons can go, but let's give them the candidate with the most experience establishing and maintaining a consistent culture. Lewis with a team that does run as "quirky" as the Bengals do. I think he's a strong choice.

The coach we'd hire: Marvin Lewis, co-defensive coordinator, Arizona State Sun Devils

 

Uhhhh, no thanks. The fact they mention Smith/Daboll and still go with Lewis is crazy. Hes not a horrible HC (as evidenced by his record with the Bengals) but I dont want old school thinking in here.

Heres the link for the rest of the article (need ESPN+):

https://www.espn.com/nfl/insider/story/_/id/30573602/who-lions-texans-falcons-hire-head-coach-debated-made-picks-nfl-openings

Edited by DirtyBird2
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This would be a Blank move.  Marvin and Raheem check ALL the boxes.  Both, sadly, are average head coaches.  Actually, I think I will use the word "safe" rather than average. 

Unless there is wholesale change in the culture of the team, and this defeatest, loser commitment to mediocrity that we have embraced far too long, it won't matter who we hire.  The ground is tainted, the air is diseased and there is a pestilence than runs like a rot through the organization.  Unless that is wholesale excised, Bill Belicheck in his prime could not fix this.

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