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Sunday February 28th, 2021 11:41PM

Falcons interview Hackett, Brady for head coaching job

By The Associated Press
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ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have interviewed a pair of offensive coordinators, Nathaniel Hackett of the Green Bay Packers and Joe Brady of the Carolina Panthers, for their head coaching job.

The Falcons conducted a virtual interview with Hackett on Thursday, one day after meeting virtually with Brady.

The 41-year-old Hackett has been with the Packers since 2019 on the staff of former Falcons assistant Matt LaFleur, after previously serving as offensive coordinator for Buffalo and Jacksonville.

The son of former NFL and college coach Paul Hackett received a lofty endorsement from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, one of the leading contenders for the MVP award.

“I think one of the (prerequisites) to being a good head coach is presence in front of a room," Rodgers said. "You have to have kind of a unique charisma and an ability to captivate your audience and part of that captivation is in the way you talk, your cadence, your inflection, story telling ability, and I think those are underrated qualities that a coach can have.

“Nate has all those things. He’s able to captivate the audience, which is usually the offense. Any time he gets up in his meetings, he has great energy.”

The 31-year-old Brady is a popular name in coaching searches after only one season as an NFL coordinator. The Chargers and Texans also have received permission from the Panthers to interview Brady.

Brady moved to Carolina last season after helping lead LSU to a national championship. His role as LSU’s passing game coordinator with quarterback Joe Burrow, the Heisman Trophy winner, was a key to the Tigers' championship.

The Falcons have interviewed five candidates for head coach. Dan Quinn was fired after the team started the season with five straight losses. Raheem Morris went 4-7 as the interim coach.

On Monday, the team conducted virtual interviews with Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Morris interviewed last week.

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles told The Associated Press on Wednesday he expects to interview but for now is focused on the playoffs.

The Falcons also are seeking a replacement for general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who was fired along with Quinn after the dismal start led to a 4-12 finish. It is possible the team could have a new general manager assist in the selection of a coach.

On Wednesday, the Falcons conducted a virtual interview with GM candidate Terry Fontenot, the New Orleans Saints vice president and assistant general manager in charge of pro personnel.

The Falcons previously met with former Houston Texans GM Rick Smith, Atlanta director of college scouting Anthony Robinson and two other directors of college scouting, Brad Holmes of the Los Angeles Rams and Morocco Brown of the Indianapolis Colts.

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