The Atlanta Falcons have already lost out on their top coaching candidate, and now are moving fast on their next best choice.
This week, the Falcons interviewed former Jets coach Rex Ryan, and sources close to the team said that he could be announced as their next head coach within hours. But the interview came and went with no announcement, and eventually Ryan found his way to Buffalo, where he was named the new head coach early on Sunday.
Now the Falcons are zeroing in on Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, meeting with him for five hours on Saturday.
It wasn't entirely the team's fault that Rex Ryan got away. The Falcons' search process was impacted a bit by the death of owner Arthur Blank's mother, which pushed Bowles' interview from Thursday back to Saturday.
After Bowles' interview, it's believed that the Atlanta Falcons have finished their first round of interviews and will start their second round. But if Bowles stands out as their man, the Falcons may be moving quickly with a decision. The Buffalo Bills hiring of Rex Ryan could kick off a hiring blitz, with many other coaches falling into place within the next two to three days.
Though Rex Ryan was reportedly the top choice, Todd Bowles also brings a strong defensive background to a team in desperate need. The Falcons finished dead last in the NFL in yard allowed, with 398.3 yards per game.
Quick coaching search update: At this point, #Falcons appear to narrow their search to Todd Bowles and Dan Quinn. D is the focus.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2015
Dan Quinn would not seem a likely fit for the Atlanta Falcons. He cannot be interviewed until after the Seattle Seahawks end their season, and is reportedly the top candidate for the New York Jets to fill their coaching vacancy. All signs are pointing to Todd Bowles for the Falcons.