TODAY, 7:46pm: As expected, the Falcons also invited back Raheem Morris for a second interview. The team announced this evening that they’ve completed their second talk with the Rams defensive coordinator.
MONDAY, 3:25pm: More finalists for the Falcons’ head coaching position have emerged. Atlanta has requested a second interview with Ravens staffers Mike Macdonald and Anthony Weaver, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
With the Ravens having advanced to the AFC title game, members of their coaching staff cannot take part in interviews this week. When available, however, they will be able to meet in person with the Falcons as their search for an Arthur Smith replacement continues. The leading candidate in that department continues to be Bill Belichick, but nothing is certain as of yet.
Atlanta is poised to conduct a thorough search even though the team has already spoken with Belichick twice. The six-time Super Bowl winner is joined by Jim Harbaugh in receiving an in-person look so far with Atlanta. As coaching free agents, those two are not subject to the rules of staffers currently employed in the NFL. Atlanta must still satisfy the Rooney Rule, however, something which will be the case once the team speaks for a second time with Weaver and another external minority candidate.
While Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is the favorite to win a second MVP award, Baltimore’s defense has played a massive role in the team’s success this season. The unit led the league in sacks, takeaways (tied) and points allowed, something which has not been done before in NFL history. That has, to no surprise, led to signficant HC interest for Macdonald in particular.
The 36-year-old returned to the Ravens last year after a single season as Michigan’s DC. His three total years as a play-caller limit his experience compared to a number of other candidates, but the Falcons are joined by the Panthers, Chargers, Seahawks, Titans and Commanders in being at least connected to him. A strong showing in the postseason – the Ravens’ defense allowed three points in their win against the Texans – has no doubt upped Macdonald’s value.
The same is true for Weaver, who interviewed with the Commanders for their head coaching vacancy. His NFL coaching career dates back to 2012, and he has extensive experience as a D-line coach. The 43-year-old has also worked as a coordinator once (with the Texans in 2020), and for the past two seasons he has held the title of associate head coach with the Ravens.
Both Macdonald and Weaver figure to be in demand if they ca replicate their performances this week against the Chiefs. After that contest, they will be free to speak with the Falcons or any other teams taking a serious look at them for a head coaching gig.