The Atlanta Falcons, at long last, appear to have found their next head coach; according to Michael Smith of ESPN and verified by league sources, the team is expected to hire Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith (no relation) as their next head coach. the announcement could come as early as Wednesday afternoon. Also factored in was that they didn’t want to wait for New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo since the Giants were still in the playoffs.
There were lots of candidates interviewed for the position – besides Smith, there was also Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier (believed to be the Falcons’ second choice), Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and ex-Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. While Frazier no doubt impressed the Falcons during his interviews with newly hired Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, Smith blew the team away with his combination of intelligence, communication and organizational skills and strong knowledge of personnel.
It is mere speculation right now, but if the Green Bay Packers had defeated the Giants last Sunday, then more than likely Spagnuolo would be the one at the podium when the Falcons announced their new head coach. With Smith appearing ready to take the reins, the Falcons have a long road ahead as they have a 2008 draft to prepare for. And quite frankly, Smith is only going to be as successful as the offensive coordinator that the Falcons have in place. And hopefully, Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank has a head coach that not only will stick around for the long haul (unlike Bobby Petrino), but will be successful as well. The NFC South is only going to get stronger, and for right now, the Falcons will be bringing up the rear.