Thanks to an epic collapse by the Green Bay Packers, the Seattle Seahawks won on Sunday and advanced to the Super Bowl, extending their season an additional two weeks. This is relevant to the Detroit Lions because Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn can't officially be hired by the Atlanta Falcons until after the Super Bowl, and Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is also a finalist for that job. Will the Falcons be willing to wait for Quinn, or will they just simply hire Austin?
As it stands right now, it's pretty clear that Quinn is getting the job. He's been widely viewed as the favorite for the job, and he's reportedly scheduled to speak with the Falcons again on Monday. What's more, Adam Schefter reports that the Falcons are indeed willing to wait another two weeks to hire Quinn.
As if that's not evidence enough that Quinn is getting the Falcons job, it appears they are already beginning to assemble his coaching staff:
Falcons are hiring Kyle Shanahan as their OC, per league source. Shanahan and Dan Quinn planned to be package deal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 19, 2015
Austin reportedly was planning on hiring Adam Gase as his offensive coordinator if he got the Falcons job, but clearly that's not happening. With Quinn in line to get the Falcons job and Gary Kubiak headed to Denver, it appears that Austin will be back as defensive coordinator of the Lions for at least one more season. That's obviously great news for the Lions considering Austin helped turn their defense into one of the best units in the entire NFL in 2014.
With Austin drawing interest from five head coaching searches in recent weeks (Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos), it's clear that he's on track to become a head coach at some point. It's got to be disappointing for Austin that it didn't happen this year, but if the Lions defense continues to play at a high level in 2015, he will have an excellent shot at getting a head coaching job a year from now.
In any case, this is extremely good news for the Lions. With so much uncertainty surrounding Ndamukong Suh's future, the last thing the Lions needed this offseason was for their defensive coordinator to leave for another team. Now, though, with Austin likely back, the hope is that the Lions will be able to build on last season's success on defense no matter what ends up happening with Suh.