It could've happened in 2019 and should've, to be honest, but Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank refused to part ways at the time with head coach Dan Quinn. Instead, Blank doubled down on his belief in Quinn despite mounting evidence showing his time in Atlanta was at its end, but an 0-5 start to the 2020 season was a bit much for even the forgiving Blank to stomach. Hours after their Week 5 loss to the Carolina Panthers, Quinn was given his pink slip -- alongside longtime general manager Thomas Dimitroff -- blasting open the door for the Falcons to have yet another shot at figuring out how to right their ship.
They've given defensive coordinator Raheem Morris the nod as interim head coach, but his long-term prospects with the franchise remain uncertain. And with a handful (or more) of elite minds available for the Falcons to reach out to, it'll be a tough go for Morris to get the seat permanently. Any of these five could step in and potentially turn the Falcons around for the better, and in short order.
All it takes is a phone call.
Eric Bieniemy - Chiefs OC
It boggles the mind to know Bieniemy is still not a head coach in the NFL.
The Kansas City Chiefs offense is putting up arcade numbers virtually every time they step on the field, and while you can credit Super Bowl MVP and former league MVP Patrick Mahomes for making the impossible look easy, the fact is he and his armoire of weapons are being orchestrated by Bieniemy, who should be the most highly coveted name in the coaching pool until he's someone's head coach. This is a great chance for the Falcons to reach out and make a big-name hire that isn't just a bunch of fluff, but instead a proven coordinator who's ready to take the next step in his career.
Josh McDaniels - Patriots OC
As adaptable as they come, McDaniels gets the job done for the Patriots.
In a season headlined by the departure of Tom Brady and the signing of Cam Newton, the Patriots offense hasn't missed a beat and that's largely due to how McDaniels has -- in just one offseason -- completely reworked the unit to take advantage of Newton's skill set. Add to the fact he's also a Super Bowl winner several times over, including having been the maestro to overcoming a 28-3 deficit against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, and Blank should need no additional reasoning to add this seasoning. For if you can't beat them, join them, or in this case have them join you.
Lincoln Riley - Oklahoma HC
Until Riley makes the jump to the NFL, he'll remain atop the candidate list for teams.
Once viewed as a front-runner to land the Cowboys head coaching gig, they instead opted to go with the more proven NFL hand in Mike McCarthy, but the Falcons have never been shy about reaching down into the collegiate ranks to find a leader. It didn't pan out the way they'd like in the past, but Riley is a talented offensive mind and combined with the Falcons stable of weapons on that side of the ball, the union could jumpstart the team and put them back in the conversation as a contender in the loaded NFC South.
Brian Daboll - Bills OC
Here's a name you might not know, but you should learn.
Josh Allen is playing at an MVP level in 2020, but not so long ago there were many doubting he was a starting caliber QB. The dominance of the Bills offense this season is predicated in the teachings of Daboll, and his success in Buffalo isn't exactly surprising when you look at the road taken to arrive in upstate New York. He has five Super Bowls under his belt from his time as both an offensive assistant and tight ends coach of the New England Patriots (including Super Bowl LI) and a national championship as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the University of Alabama. A man from the coaching tree of both Bill Belichick and Nick Saban? The Falcons could certainly do worse.
Byron Leftwich - Bucs OC
Speaking of the NFC South, here's a guy who's already coaching in it.
Leftwich took over as the Buccaneers offensive coordinator in 2019 in conjunction with the signing of Bruce Arians and he has already had to adapt his offense from Jameis Winston to Tom Brady -- with masterful results thus far. Brady looks like the prime version of himself yet again, and the Buccaneers lead the division in both wins and points scored (139). A former seventh overall pick, Leftwich has the unique ability to empathize with his quarterbacks in a way that helps them improve, and Matt Ryan could benefit from such a mind on the Atlanta sideline. This wouldn't be the glossiest signing, but Leftwich is one of the more talented coordinator minds in the league.
Raheem Morris - Falcons interim HC
For now, it's Morris' job to lose.
His audition begins in Week 6 when the Falcons visit the Minnesota Vikings, and it's not his first rodeo. Morris was once the head coach of the Buccaneers and Blank knows him well -- considering Morris joined the organization in 2015 as an assistant head coach before also taking on roles as defensive backs coach, wide receivers coach and ultimately defensive coordinator before being named interim head coach following Quinn's dismissal. He also has a Super Bowl ring from his role under Jon Gruden in Tampa during their 2002 season, so he knows what a winning team is supposed to look like from the inside-out. If Morris does well and the Falcons opt for more of a defensive mind, he could get the nod.
Then again, the defense hasn't looked great in Atlanta either, and now Morris must fix that and the broken offense. Seems like a tall ask for the leader of a unit that allows 32.2 points per game. Atlanta might do well to consider that names above unless Morris blows his 11-game interview out of the water.