The Help Wanted sign is up at Flowery Branch.
The Atlanta Falcons have big needs for the upcoming season. Offense, pass rush, a quarterback or two. But the most important opening that needs to be filed is one that became available last Sunday when the previous incumbent employee was fired for three consecutive losing seasons.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank and AMBSE CEO Rich McKay made it clear Monday that they would be thorough and take their time looking for former head coach Arthur Smith’s successor. They and General Manager Terry Fontenot will be looking at numerous submissions in the offseason in order to find the Falcon’s next head playcaller.
Meanwhile, Black Monday, the day when the regular season ends and play callers from unsuccessful teams are dismissed, bled into Tuesday as a longtime head coach with the Tennessee Titans, Mike Vrabel, was fired today. And speculation continues over the futures of longtime Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh, who’s still savoring his team’s College Football National Championship win from last night.
These and several other prospects have been talked about since the head coach position with the Falcons became available. This is a list of some that have been mentioned as possibilities for this important position.
Bill Belichick-The pro football world has been watching to see if this longtime head coach of the New England Patriots stays or goes. So far, Robert Kraft has not given Belichick his walking papers. But if he does, some observers think he would be a great coach for the Falcons. He brings 8 Super Bowl wins, 48 years of coaching experience with seven different NFL teams, and a lot of respect in NFL circles. One report said that Falcons brass want to meet with him. Could “The Falcons Way” come to Mercedes Benz Stadium next season?
Eric Bieniemy-This former running back turned assistant head coach and offensive coordinator has worked in both college (UCLA) and professional football (Vikings, Chiefs, and now Commanders.) He is well-regarded by football fans and observers alike and deemed to be overdue for a shot at a head coaching gig. The offensively challenged Falcons could use the help this offensive coordinator could give them.
Joe Brady -currently the interim offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills. Has been coaching since 2013. Brady is another prospect who could step up the Falcons’ offense.
Brian Callahan-Offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. Coaching since 2010. Served as quarterbacks’ coach for the Lions and Raiders. This multitalented coach could help the Falcons on more than one front.
Brian Flores- Currently the defensive coordinator for the Vikings. Has been coaching for the Patriots from 2008-2018 and won four Super Bowl championships. Became head coach for the Dolphins from 2019-21, with a winning record in all three seasons. He was fired despite his successful tenure at Miami and filed a racial discrimination suit in response. He’s another coach many believe is primed for another head coaching job.
Aaron Glenn- A defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, who caught fire this past season to the surprise of many. Glenn was also a player for the Jets, Texans, Cowboys, Jaguars, and Saints.
Jim Harbaugh-This storied coach is one many Falcons fans would like to see walking the fields of Flowery Branch later this summer. His Michigan Wolverines just won a National CFB Championship. He coached in college (University of San Diego, Stanford, and Michigan) and the NFL (Raiders, 49ers). He has a 144-52 college win record and a 49-22-1 NFL record. He was also a quarterback with Michigan in college, followed by QB stints in the NFL with the Bears, Colts, Ravens, Chargers, Lions, and Panthers. After nine years of leading the Wolverines, it’s been rumored he might want to return to coaching pro football. Could the Falcons be his next chapter?
Ben Johnson-Offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions. He’s been a coach of different capacities for Boston College, Miami Dolphins, and now the Lions since 2009.
Raheem Morris-This would be a return of sorts to the Falcons as Morris was an interim head coach for the Falcons in 2020, just before Arthur Smith took over. He is currently a defensive coordinator for the L.A. Rams. He has two Super Bowl victories to his credit. He was also Falcons assistant head coach from 2015-19, and wide receiver coach from 2016-20. Could Morris return to Flowery Branch as head coach once again?
Bobby Slowik-Offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans, who have seen their fortunes improve this year. He also worked with the San Franciso 49ers.
Mike Vrabel-His five five-year tenure as head coach of the Tennessee Titans came to an end today, but he may now be available to be the Falcons’ next head coach. The three-time Super Bowl Champion player started coaching in 2011 with Ohio State. He was with the Texans from 2014 to 1017 as linebacker’s coach and then defensive coordinator. He joined the Titans as head coach in 2018 and was named NFL Coach of the Year in 2021.
The Falcons will have to compete with five other teams this offseason who are in need of head coaches: Washington Commanders, Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers.