Three weeks ago there were seven NFL head-coaching vacancies. Now there is one.
And it’s becoming a foregone conclusion around the Seahawks that the reason Atlanta hasn’t hired its new head man yet is because the Falcons are waiting, per league hiring rules, for Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to finish his season.
Carroll wants that rule changed. He sees the Seahawks’ and his staff’s successes as hurting his assistants’ chances at head jobs because teams don’t want to wait until after the Super Bowl to hire them.
“I would really think that would be a good idea (to change the rule),” Carroll said. “Guys should not be restricted because of their success.”
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Quinn and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had interviews for head jobs last January but didn't get any jobs while the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl. This month Quinn interviewed with the Jets, Raiders, Bills, 49ers and Falcons -- he reportedly had a second interview with Atlanta on Monday. Bevell interviewed with Buffalo and Oakland. Assistant head coach and offensive-line coach Tom Cable interviewed with the Jets.
League rules allow hiring teams to interview candidates on the staff of playoff terms during their bye weeks. But they prohibit needy teams from actually hiring assistants from playoff teams until after those teams' seasons are over.
It doesn't seem like a difficult fix: Simply let teams hire whoever they want, whenever they want, announce the move, then allow the assistants to get back to finishing the postseason with their current teams. What, does the league not think assistants talk on the phone at night and during the day to wives, kids, friends -- and to coaching colleagues they may want to round out a potential coaching staff -- because they are so absorbed in postseason game prep?
The Jets, Raiders, Bills and 49ers didn't wait for Seattle's to be finished before they hired new head coaches. Which shows how much Atlanta and owner Arthur Blank must love him some Quinn.
What's not to love, Carroll says.
"Dan has tremendous character. He has great leadership qualities. He is an excellent communicator. He has great experience behind him," Carroll said of the man he brought back to the Seahawks for the 2012 season after Quinn was the University of Florida's defensive coordinator. "He has worked with a lot of guys who have influenced him and helped him along the way. He’s got a competitive nature that I think he conveys—look at what he’s done to our guys. He has been a fantastic guy on our staff. He works well at this level. The players totally believe him and understand what he wants; he conveys the message.
"I think it will be a great step for him when the time comes."
Until then, Carroll assures Quinn is fully focused and committed to coaching the Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.
But don't be surprised if the Seahawks need a new defensive coordinator on Feb. 2.