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Jags Smith emerges as leading HC candidate

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  • Jags Smith emerges as leading HC candidate

    The Atlanta Falcons' long search for a head coach may be nearing its end.

    According to league sources, Atlanta is leaning toward selecting Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith as its next head coach. An announcement could come as soon as Wednesday afternoon.

    Smith, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett (who withdrew from consideration to remain with the Cowboys), and highly-regarded defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, late of the Baltimore Ravens, each interviewed with Dimitroff after the Falcons hired the former New England Patriots college scouting director on Jan. 13.
    Frazier, the most recent entry, really impressed new Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and is believed to have been the Falcons' second choice.

    But Smith, 48, won over the Falcons with his combination of intelligence, communication and organizational skills, and strong knowledge of personnel. Most important, the team believes Smith to be the most professionally compatible with Dimitroff.

    Smith has coordinated Jacksonville's defense the past six seasons. The Jaguars finished 12th in total defense in 2007 after ranking second in 2006 and sixth in 2005. From 1999 to 2001 Smith served as defensive assistant/defensive line coach for the Ravens, helping Baltimore win Super Bowl XXXV after the 2000 season. In 2002, Smith replaced current Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio as linebackers coach.

    Despite their interest in Steve Spagnuolo the Falcons decided it wasn't in their best interest to wait another week to interview the New York Giants defensive coordinator until after Super Bowl XLII, when the league allows, a source said.

    Two factors led to that decision not to wait to interview and likely offer the job to Spagnuolo, with whom Dimitroff struck up a friendship when the two worked together in the then-World League of American Football and whom some believed was the leading candidate.

    First, the Falcons feared being left at the proverbial altar -- again. Bobby Petrino resigned as head coach after 13 games last season. Bill Parcells spurned owner Arthur Blank's offer to run the entire football operation and chose Miami instead. Last week both Garrett and Indianapolis assistant head coach Jim Caldwell pulled out of the running. The Falcons' brass worried they would wait another week, only for Spagnuolo to perhaps remain in New York. Spagnuolo and the Giants already denied one Falcons' request to interview him earlier this postseason, therefore prohibiting a possible second meeting this week.

    Second, the longer the Falcons waited to hire a head coach the less likely he would be able to assemble what the team believes is the best possible coaching staff.

    The Falcons' search also included meetings with Tony Sparano, since hired as the Miami Dolphins head coach, and Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz prior to Dimitroff's arrival.

    Michael Smith is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

  • #2
    I didnt see this coming I was assuming that Spags and Rex Ryan would be our next HC but It seems like they wanted to go ahead and hire someone but why not Rex Ryan.

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    • #3
      I now hate Dimintroff.

      Screw him.

      Bad choice.

      No freaking pressure on the QB and I have not heard anything about his attitude.
      Virginia Tech.
      ACC Champions 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010

      Next Up: 2012

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      • #4
        I actually like this a lot...I love their style of football...hit you in the mouth and beat you up physically. I love that, I want a team that other guys hate to play because they wake up sore...

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        • #5
          Interesting.

          I wouldn't get too worked up about it, Bama. He's got a fantastic coaching pedigree, and has been the co-ordinator of a consistently excellent defense. He's got more experience than any of the other candidates, and has shown really impressive consistency.

          No, the Jags have not been at their best this season, but they've still been very solid, and that's with their two stud DTs being injured for most of the season, their premier DE still struggling from a major achilles injury. I'm also impressed at the way he has brought rookies, like Nelson, into the starting line-up, making the best of their abilities while covering their flaws.

          In short, Smith has a fantastic pedigree. The other candidates do too, but Smith more than deserves an opportunity.

          That's assuming this story isn't just pulled out of the ether...
          TD 2011 catch-phrase: "explosive"

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          • #6
            looks good to me. hopefully we get Rex ryan for DC and norm Chow for OC. that would really make my day.

            Owner of ScarDraft
            Atlanta Falcons and NFL Draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report

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            • #7
              Originally posted by D-Rod View Post
              Interesting.

              I wouldn't get too worked up about it, Bama. He's got a fantastic coaching pedigree, and has been the co-ordinator of a consistently excellent defense. He's got more experience than any of the other candidates, and has shown really impressive consistency.

              No, the Jags have not been at their best this season, but they've still been very solid, and that's with their two stud DTs being injured for most of the season, their premier DE still struggling from a major achilles injury. I'm also impressed at the way he has brought rookies, like Nelson, into the starting line-up, making the best of their abilities while covering their flaws.

              In short, Smith has a fantastic pedigree. The other candidates do too, but Smith more than deserves an opportunity.

              That's assuming this story isn't just pulled out of the ether...
              Smith was a HC before though. he was a long time HC for Tennessee Tech. so he has the organizational skills and has knowledge of it. he just needed an opportunity. and this is hiring a NFL coordinator with college HC experience. so in a way we are hiring a former HC.

              Owner of ScarDraft
              Atlanta Falcons and NFL Draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report

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              • #8
                I'd forgotten about that. That makes his impressive pedigree even better. I'd be perfectly happy with Mike Smith.

                On a tangent, it's an amusing coincidence that this story was broken by Michael Smith...
                TD 2011 catch-phrase: "explosive"

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                • #9
                  I am really conflicted. On one hand the Jaguars defense is usually one of the best in the league; however, the last memory I have is of the Jaguars allowing Tom Brady to pick them apart. As long as Smith brings more of the former, I will be happy.

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                  • #10
                    Yeah...then when they brought pressure they knocked him around...I don't understand what happened in that game...they brought him down on the very first play of the game...but then didn't get after him again until it was too late.

                    He has a similar situation in the Defensive Backfield...maybe a little better here...but Mathis and Hall both are up high on the list in the top 10 corners...but Chris Houston I think would give Atlanta the edge, Milloy is a stud too, but then they have a Reggie Nelson coming up...but we still don't know about Stone, who appears to be a stud...

                    We have Boley who is a big draw here...but they have better DTs than we do...but we have Abe on the end, and a different style in the middle...don't know if he's going to like the Coleman / Babs type of pass rushing UT...

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                    • #11
                      All I know is his resume is sterling. Although his defense isn't the style I would prefer (Spagnuolo and Ryan...), his defense has been very good on a consistent basis.

                      Points allowed in his year's in Jacksonville:

                      '07 - 10th
                      '06 - 4th
                      '05 - 6th
                      '04 - 7th
                      '03 - 18th

                      He was a LB coach for the Ravens back in '00 when they won the Super Bowl.

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                      • #12
                        Interesting comments made by former Jag Marcellus Wiley on First Take.

                        He basically said that Mike Smith was a figurehead in Jacksonville, and that Jack Del Rio and even Mike Peterson were the defensive coordinator more than Mike Smith. He said that no one in the locker room really respected him, and that he was just a guy that stood in the front of the locker room.

                        Jaguars fans all knew Jack Del Rio really ran the show defensively, but Marcellus's comments are very interesting. I think he's exaggerating the truth a bit, but I think his main point - that Mike Smith was secondary to the Jaguars defensive success and that JDR is the man behind the machine - is true.

                        by BoneKrusher
                        <DG> how metal unseen
                        <TheUnseen> Drunken Canadian Bastard: There's an APS for that

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by scar988 View Post
                          looks good to me. hopefully we get Rex ryan for DC and norm Chow for OC. that would really make my day.
                          ryan will stay in baltimore as dc if he does not get a hc job and chow is oc for ucla

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                          • #14
                            I can believe that...but honestly...I'd rather have that. I don't want a coach who's trying to focus on one thing and ignore the other...I want a coach that has 2 great coordinators running their part of the show.

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                            • #15
                              Former Jaguars player Marcellus Wiley had a different view of Smith.

                              "I was looking at this saying, 'Wow, they went way down low on the totem pole for this,' " Wiley said on ESPN's First Take Wednesday. "I say this because when I was in Jacksonville, Jack Del Rio was the defensive coordinator. ... Mike Smith, I won't say he was a puppet figure, but at the same time, Mike Smith wasn't the guy guys in the lockerroom respected. He wasn't the one you looked at and said, 'OK, he's our leader.' ... We just knew he was standing in front of the room while Jack Del Rio called the shots."

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