Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn went through two years ago what his offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is experiencing now.
Quinn, who was the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator at the time, was the presumptive next coach of the Falcons while he prepared to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
One day after the Seahawks’ 28-24 loss to the Patriots, Quinn was announced as Falcons head coach.
The 49ers are expected to formally make an offer to Shanahan after the Falcons’ season is over, and Shanahan is “almost certain” to accept, the NFL Network reported. Atlanta plays host to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.
“I definitely have shared insight with him as he was going through the process for him,” Quinn said of Shanahan on Wednesday during a press conference.
But Quinn referred all other questions about Shanahan’s likely hiring as the next 49ers coach to the Bay Area. The 49ers will be able to hold a second interview with Shanahan next week, regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game. The 49ers’ first interview with Shanahan was Jan. 5. He was allowed to interview the first time because the Falcons were on the playoff bye week as the NFC’s No. 2 seed.
“I know it’s for sure out there, (but it’s) definitely not our story to tell,” Quinn said. “They (the 49ers) will for sure reach out to (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) and to the organization and there will be a window for them if they’d like to visit with him for next week. But that’s really where it’s at, and there’s nothing left to do until then.
“That’s the way it’s designed from the league. You have your window and then that one closes for a while, and then there’s another one and you’re able to talk. From there, that’s why you’re able to lock back in and do what we’re doing. That’s where I am with that.”
Khalil Mack had 15 sacks in 2015. The Raiders edge rusher had four fewer a year later but, still had his best season yet.
As head coach Jack Del Rio likes to say, pass rushers aren’t judged on sacks alone.
That number was still high at 11, but Mack was dominant against the run. He created turnovers and consistently pressured the quarterback despite a steady dose of chip blocks and double teams. A third man was occasionally assigned, as one was late against Carolina.
Mack fought through a triple team and strip sacked Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. He recovered his own fumble and secured a Raiders victory. Then he did something similar the following week against Buffalo.
It was that type of clutch performance, in addition to all the standard metrics, that made Mack the NFL’s most dominant defensive player.
The Pro Football Writers of America agrees. The association named him the NFL’s defensive player of the year for the 2016 season by vote of their membership.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan was named the PWFA’s MVP and offensive player of the year.
Mack’s award could be a preview of a big moment early next month. The NFL will honor its best at awards banquet the evening prior to the Super Bowl, and Mack could be named defensive player of the year there.
That would honor a player with excellent numbers this season. Mack had 73 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, four passes defensed and an interception he returned for a touchdown. He also had 16 tackles for loss (one off the NFL lead) and had 96 total quarterback pressures.