Falcons, Panthers Planning Second Brian Callahan HC Interviews

With six teams still needing to fill their head coaching vacancies, the Bengals’ chances of running back its Zac TaylorBrian Callahan duo for a sixth year are in doubt. Callahan will have a chance to meet with at least three teams for a second time.

Already scheduled to interview a second time with the Titans, the five-year Bengals OC has received requests for in-person interviews in Atlanta and Charlotte. Both the Falcons and Panthers plan to bring in Callahan for a second meeting this week, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.

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Callahan, 39, interviewed with four teams already. Of those, only the Chargers have not been linked to bringing him in for an in-person summit. Beyond that, Callahan appears to have done well in his Zoom meetings recently. Teams can begin meeting with HC candidates on other staffs in-person following the divisional round, which will accelerate this year’s coaching carousel.

Although the Falcons have already interviewed Bill Belichick twice — to the point the legendary HC may be determining if he wants to land in Atlanta — the team is believed to still be planning a thorough search. Jim Harbaugh is meeting with the Falcons for a second time this week, while Mike Vrabel‘s first interview with the team is also on tap.

Callahan would certainly command a lower salary than these candidates, but he would also not check the experience box the NFC South club is believed to be seeking this time around. Arthur Blank has hired first-time HCs throughout his ownership tenure, but after the latest (Arthur Smith) failed to deliver a turnaround, the team has shifted course during this cycle. Belichick is still believed to be the team’s top candidate, but this process is expected to last several more days while the parties deliberate.

Not as much is known about the Panthers’ search, but the team’s 2023 showing and David Tepper‘s actions over the past year point to this not being the most coveted of jobs. Carolina has long been connected to Ben Johnson, with the Lions’ OC being viewed as the team’s top target. Johnson bowed out of the race to become Carolina’s HC last year, but the North Carolina native again met with the team Friday. Callahan would seem a second choice behind Johnson for the Panthers, who can rely on Tepper’s deep pockets to finalize its coaching search. The Panthers have been targeting another offense-oriented HC, with that intel coming out shortly after Frank Reich‘s ouster.

Considering the Bengals’ rise from a 2-14 season in 2019 to back-to-back AFC championship games, coupled with offensive coaches having the edge at the moment, it is a bit surprising Callahan has not generated more interest. That said, Taylor has been the Bengals’ play-caller throughout his Cincinnati stay. With three second interviews coming, Callahan does look to have a real chance of landing a top job soon.

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