Two days after interviewing interim head coach Raheem Morris for their full-time opening, the Atlanta Falcons have lined up two more candidates for their vacancy. Now that their 2020 season is complete, they're set to speak with San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Sunday; as well as Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Both coaches are scheduled to interview with the Falcons virtually on Monday.
Bieniemy and Saleh are among the most popular speculated head coaching candidates of the 2021 offseason, with each coordinator reportedly drawing interest for openings in recent years. The former will have the upcoming week off as the No. 1-seed Chiefs enjoy a first-round bye, while Saleh's offseason has already officially begun with the 49ers missing the playoffs.
As the Chiefs' offensive coordinator since 2018, not to mention a career offensive assistant and former NFL running back, Bieniemy would bring an entirely new perspective to the Falcons' head coaching job, as Atlanta hasn't had an offensive-minded coach since Bobby Petrino's short-lived tenure in 2007. Arguably Bieniemy's greatest asset is an eight-year resume under Andy Reid, the league's reigning Super Bowl-winning head coach.
Saleh, on the other hand, has made a name for himself as one of the NFL's top defensive minds, coordinating the Niners' unit for the last four years. An assistant for the Seattle Seahawks from 2011-2013, his recent San Francisco defenses have consistently been among the most feared in the league, with his 2019 unit helping guide the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance.
The Falcons aren't likely to limit their coaching search to these two, however. CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that Atlanta is "super-intrigued" by Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, and there is "growing buzz" about the possibility of the Falcons pursuing him for their vacancy.