NFL Rumors: Former New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick Expected To Land With Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are going big-game hunting. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will have a second interview with the Falcons' top brass this week, and CBS Sports' Insider Josina Anderson believes the six-time Super Bowl champion will get the job "barring a snag."

Belichick's Patriots famously defeated the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, overcoming a 28-3 second-half deficit to eventually win 34-28 in overtime. The Falcons remain one of only 11 NFL franchises never to take home a Lombardi Trophy.

The Falcons were in the hunt for the NFC South all the way through to Week 18 this past season, eventually finishing 7-10 and two games behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They should present Belichick with an opportunity to compete right away: their defense ranked a respectable 11th in yards allowed, and their offense has promising young talent in wide receiver Drake London, tight end Kyle Pitts, and running back Bijon Robinson, all of whom were high first-round picks.

Belichick's first order of business will be fixing the Falcons' moribund passing attack, and that may be easier said than done. The team clearly lacks a starting quarterback, and an inability to find and groom one after Tom Brady is eventually what doomed Belichick in New England.

Given the Falcons' eighth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft is likely out of range for a top passing prospect, Belichick may have no choice but to explore veteran options. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield are set to be free agents, but they may be difficult to lure away from their teams. The Denver Broncos reportedly intend to release nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson; he may be the best the Falcons can do.

Belichick would also be wise to find an offensive play-caller he can rely on. Rumor has it he has his eye on a reunion with former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels. That would make sense for both parties. What limited success the two have had without Brady has come together: of Belichick's three winning seasons in 11 years as a head coach without the three-time MVP as his leading passer, McDaniels was the offensive coordinator for two of them. If Belichick can improve the defense, and if McDaniels can help lift whoever the Falcons field at quarterback to competence as he did with Matt Cassel in 2008 and Mac Jones in 2021, the Falcons could very well play winning football sooner than later.

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