The Falcons have begun gathering information on potential head coaching candidates after firing Dan Quinn last month, with Packers coordinator Nathaniel Hackett quickly emerging as someone they would be interested in interviewing after the season, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Hackett, 40, is in his second year as the Packers offensive coordinator, with their passing game surging in 2020 and Aaron Rodgers playing at an MVP level. He is very much on the radar of Falcons team president Rich McKay, sources said, who is the central figure in owner Arthur Blank's coach and GM searches, and Hackett also has ties to several of McKay's confidants who remain on Atlanta's staff.
Hackett broke into the NFL in 2006 with Tampa as a quality control coach, and his father, Paul Hackett, worked on Jon Gruden's staff in Tampa (McKay was part of the Bucs front office that traded for Gruden from the Raiders). He became one of the youngest coordinators in the NFL in 2013 when he ran the Bills offense for Doug Marrone and he served on Marrone's staff in Jacksonville as well from 2015-18 before going to Green Bay when Matt LaFleur was hired there.
LaFleur was previously in Atlanta from 2015-16 as Matt Ryan's quarterback coach under then offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Ryan was the MVP and the Falcons reached the Super Bowl in Shanahan's second year there and the team has been trying to get back to that level of offensive performance since. The Packers reached the playoffs in 2019, Hackett's first year there, and they are poised to return again this year.
Sources say his name has come up several times in internal discussions about the hiring process and whom to interview, and while that is still in its preliminary stages, Hackett has piqued the interest of several people involved and is someone the team continues to research. Chiefs coordinator Eric Bieniemy is also among the likely candidates for the Falcons opening, sources said.