Falcons interview Hackett, Brady for head coaching job

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FILE – Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, left, and offensive coordinator Joe Brady watch from the sideline during an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Charlotte, N.C., in this, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, file photo. Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady is becoming a popular name for NFL teams seeking to fill head coaching vacancies. A person familiar with the situation says the Chargers, Falcons and Texans have all asked for and received permission from the Panthers to interview Brady for their head coaching jobs. (AP Photo/Brian Westerholt, File)

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 interviewbut for now is focused on the playoffs.

The Falcons also are seeking a replacement for general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who was fired along with Quinnafter 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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