12:13pm: Joining the Falcons in expressing considerable interest in Detroit’s coordinators, Washington will also schedule second interviews with Glenn and Johnson, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero adds. These meetings are set to take place in Detroit next week. Teams cannot interview staffers attached to the four conference championship-bound teams this week, injecting a hiccup into these assistants’ timetables on the HC carousel.
A second Commanders-Johnson summit has long been expected. Josh Harris‘ club has been high on the two-year OC for a bit now. The Panthers remain interested in Johnson, however, as they have been tied to the North Carolina native for some time. While Glenn was believed to be in the mix for the Titans’ HC job, the AFC South team has since hired Brian Callahan.
11:05am: The Falcons continue to cast a wide net in their search for a new head coach. Atlanta has requested a second interview with Lions offensive and defensive coordinators Ben Johnson and Aaron Glenn, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein reports.
Both interviews will take place in person, but the team will need to wait for them to take place. With the Lions having advanced to the NFC championship game, neither Johnson nor Glenn are permitted to meet with prospective teams until next week. The Falcons do have a number of other interviews to get through in the coming days, however.
For some time now, Bill Belichick has been the name most frequently linked to Atlanta’s vacancy. A recent report indicated the position is open for the six-time Super Bowl winner if he desires it, and Belichick has already interviewed twice. The Falcons are believed to be eyeing head coaching experience – a departure from owner Arthur Blank‘s previous hires – something which would lend itself to candidates such as Belichick and Jim Harbaugh.
Nevertheless, it comes as little surprise that Johnson in particular continues to receive significant interest. The 37-year-old was a top HC candidate last year despite his age and lack of experience as a play-caller. He has only two years under his belt in the latter department, but his success with Detroit’s offense has made him one of the top staffers available. Johnson is believed to be the top target for the Panthers and Commanders.
Glenn has also been one of the most popular staffers in the 2024 cycle. He has met once with the Falcons, but also the Chargers, Titans and Commanders. This follow-up with the Falcons will mark the first time this year that he interviews for a second time, however. Glenn has routinely drawn praise from Lions head coach Dan Campbell, and Detroit did manage its best showing to date with him at the helm (including a second-place ranking against the run) this season.
The Falcons have a number of notable options to choose from, but a dark horse candidate could be Bills OC Joe Brady. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer notes that Brady is a name worth watching in the event a more established coach like Belichick or Harbaugh does not land the Atlanta gig. The 34-year-old had a two-year OC stint with the Panthers before joining the Bills’ staff last year. He replaced Ken Dorsey midway through the 2023 campaign, and the team’s success down the stretch could make him a logical candidate to be retained on a full-time basis. Brady was, as Breer notes, though, the runner-up to Arthur Smith when the latter was hired.
Here is an updated look at the Falcons’ search:
- Bill Belichick, former head coach (Patriots): Conducted second interview 1/19
- Joe Brady, interim offensive coordinator (Bills): Interviewed 1/20
- Brian Callahan, offensive coordinator (Bengals): To conduct second interview 1/24
- Ejiro Evero, defensive coordinator (Panthers): Interviewed 1/14
- Aaron Glenn, defensive coordinator (Lions): Interviewed 1/19; second interview requested
- Jim Harbaugh, head coach (Michigan): To conduct second interview
- Ben Johnson, offensive coordinator (Lions): Interviewed 1/21; second interview requested
- Brian Johnson, offensive coordinator (Eagles): Interviewed 1/18
- Mike Macdonald, defensive coordinator (Ravens): Interviewed 1/12; second interview requested
- Raheem Morris, defensive coordinator (Rams): Interviewed 1/20
- Antonio Pierce, interim head coach (Raiders): Interview requested; hired as Raiders HC
- Bobby Slowik, offensive coordinator (Texans): Interviewed 1/21; to conduct second interview 1/25
- Mike Vrabel, former head coach (Titans): To interview 1/24
- Anthony Weaver, defensive line coach (Ravens): Interviewed 1/14; second interview requested
- Steve Wilks, defensive coordinator (49ers): Interviewed 1/13