Report: Falcons must wait for Quinn, add Shanahan as offensive coordinator
ATLANTA — The Falcons have dropped four straight games to Green Bay, a streak that dates back to the 2010 season where the sixth-seeded Packers knocked Atlanta out of the playoffs. That’s reason enough for this franchise to hate the boys in green and gold.
Green Bay’s championship-game loss on Sunday just added more fuel to the flames of disdain.
Multiple reports have linked the Falcons to Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as the team’s front-runner to fill the vacant position of head coach. With just over two minutes to play in the NFC Championship Game, the Packers held a 19-7 lead over the Seahawks and a portion of Atlanta’s front-office staff was already in Seattle waiting to speak with Quinn.
NFL rules state that teams from outside the playoff picture cannot pluck coaches away from teams still fighting toward the Super Bowl. A Seattle loss would have meant the Falcons could freely negotiate with Quinn to fill their job opening at the head of the coaching staff.
But Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson ran the ball in from one yard out to bring the score to 19-14 with 2:09 to play. Then the Seahawks recovered an onside kick and scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:25 left in the game.
Green Bay drove the field and tied the game with a field goal to send it to overtime, but the Packers’ defense offered little resistance in extra time. Seattle finished off a 12-point, come-from-behind victory to punch a ticket to Super Bowl XLIX.
The Falcons now must wait until after the Feb. 1 Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. to hire Quinn, if that’s indeed the move they want to make.
Quinn will still meet with the Atlanta contingent on Monday as team’s can grant interviews during a playoff bye week. But nothing official can come for at least two more weeks.
While waiting two more weeks to hire a head coach is a minor inconvenience — especially with the Senior Bowl on Saturday and practice sessions beginning on Tuesday — there are no more NFL head-coaching vacancies to fill. If Atlanta wants Quinn, and the team can convince him to leave Seattle, the Falcons will have their new head coach.
The Falcons didn’t wait, however, to add a new offensive coordinator, as ESPN reported a deal is in place with Kyle Shanahan.
Shanahan was most recently the offensive coordinator with Cleveland last season. He spent four years in the same position with Washington prior to Cleveland, and two seasons in Houston.
In his seven seasons as a coordinator, Shanahan has only twice –last season with the Browns (23rd) and in 2010 with the Redskins (18th) — finished outside the top half of the NFL’s offensive rankings in total yards. Four times his teams have finished in the top 10 (three in the top 5).
Shanahan has a proven methodology to churn massive amounts of yardage, and he’s done it at each coaching stop with less talent than he’ll inherit with the Falcons.
Known as an X’s and O’s guru with a penchant for out-scheming and out- game-planning opponents, Shanahan brings promise to an Atlanta staff that’s had offensive weapons aplenty in recent years, but has underachieved.
Adding Shanahan will surely placate a fan base that’s ready for the Falcons’ coaching staff to be whole again. If Quinn is truly to be the next head coach in Atlanta, however, Feb. 2 is likely the earliest it would happen.