Don’t let anyone shame you for thinking about the offseason already.
Let’s face it, if the Falcons continue to disappoint like they have for the first three weeks of the season, the postseason in 2020 isn’t going to happen, and the team could look very different in 2021.
Including a new head coach.
Whether Dan Quinn makes it through the season or not is yet to be seen, but unless Atlanta can go on a serious run starting now, there will likely be a new leader roaming the Falcons’ sidelines.
Here are three names to keep an eye on:
Robert Saleh: San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator
Since joining Kyle Shannahan’s staff in 2017, Saleh has turned the Niners defense into one of the most respected units across the league. In 2019, he was named Coordinator of the Year by Sporting News after San Francisco allowed just 281 yards per game, 2nd best across the NFL.
Similar to Quinn, Selah gets his defensive roots from the legendary Seattle Seahawks “Legion of Boom” where he served as the team’s defensive quality control coach during their Super Bowl run of 2013 before making a stop in Jacksonville from 2014-2016.
Saleh is a premier young defensive mind in professional football who brings a hard-nosed energy that the Falcons severely lack. With the majority of Atlanta’s woes coming on the defensive side of the ball, Saleh would bring a new emphasis to the Falcons.
In 2021, Saleh should have the opportunity to be a head coach somewhere, and Atlanta would be a great fit.
Lincoln Riley: University of Oklahoma Head Coach
Could the Falcons be the team to lure Riley away from the college game?
Riley has quickly become one of the most respected offensive geniuses in football after taking over for Bob Stoops for the Sooners in 2016. Since then, he has produced record-setting quarterbacks including Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts.
Hiring Riley would be a serious roll of the dice for any NFL team given his youth and inexperience within professional coaching, but Atlanta is an intriguing destination for Riley given the offensive weapons he would immediately have at his disposal.
Not only would Riley have the ability to put a modern twist on an already stellar offense, but he would also be the perfect head coach for Matt Ryan’s eventual heir.
Eric Bieniemy: Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator
Everyone wants to capture the Chiefs formula, especially on the offensive side of the football. Obviously, the head mastermind of the Chiefs' prowess is the combination of Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, but Bieniemy may have just enough of the KC magic to turn an NFL franchise around as a head coach.
The Chiefs have been a model of creativity for the past two years on offense, resembling a ticking time bomb which can explode for multiple touchdowns at any given time.
Just ask the Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans or Baltimore Ravens.
If Bieniemy can produce a solid offense with Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, who’s to say he can’t do the same thing with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones?