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Lincoln Riley Listed as Favorite in Odds to Be Falcons Next Head Coach Hired

Kevin Allen

by Kevin Allen in NFL Football

Oct 14, 2020 · 11:57 AM PDT

Lincoln Riley coaching
Can Lincoln Riley keep his success against Mike Gundy rolling on Saturday? (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire)
  • Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley (+300) is favorited to be named the next Atlanta Falcons’ head coach
  • Riley was previously mentioned as a possibility when the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns were hiring a coach.
  • See the odds, analysis, and our next Falcons coach pick in the story below

Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, known for his creative offensive mind, leads a crowded field of impressive candidates for the Atlanta Falcons’ coaching vacancy.

The Falcons fired coach Dan Quinn Sunday after an 0-5 start and replaced him with interim coach Raheem Morris who was previously Atlanta’s defensive coordinator.

Riley is a +300 favorite, putting him slightly ahead of Kansas City Chief’s offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (+400) and New England Patriots coordinator Josh McDaniels (+550). Morris (+1000) is also considered a candidate.

Next Atlanta Falcons Coach Odds

Coach (Team) Odds
Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma Coach) +300
Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs Offensive Coordinator) +400
Josh McDaniels (Patriots Offensive Coordinator) +550
Byron Leftwich (Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator) +700
Jim Harbaugh (Michigan Coach) +750
Dabo Swinney (Clemson Coach) +800
Brian Daboll (Bills Offensive Coordinator) +900
Raheem Morris (Falcons Interim Coach) +1000
Matt Eberflus (Colts Defensive Coordinator) +1200
Greg Roman (Ravens Offensive Coordinator) +1200

Odds as of Oct. 13

NFL Teams Have a Fascination with Riley

Whenever an NFL team fires a coach, Riley’s name is automatically connected to the vacancy.  He’s viewed as the rising star in the college game because his offensive game plans are like fireworks shows.

Since 2015, when Riley was Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator, the Sooners have averaged 44.6 points per game and 545 yards of total offense. No college team has averaged more. Since he was named coach in 2017, the Sooners have won three consecutive Big 12 titles. NFL teams like what Riley did with Oklahoma QBs Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield.

The NFL covets his magic. The only problem is that Riley hasn’t shown much interest in leaving college football just yet. He talks about unfinished business at Oklahoma, namely winning a College Football Playoff game for starters. He’s only 37, and that gives him plenty of time to launch an NFL career.

Falcons’ Issue May Be Personnel More Than Coaching

Since losing in the 2016 Super Bowl, the Falcons have been on a gradual decline. They made the playoffs as a wild card team in 2017 and then followed that up with two 7-9 seasons. Last season, they needed a second-half charge to get to 7-9.

This team may be better than their 0-5 record, but they are not a contender. They don’t need an offensive coach or defensive style coach as much as they need a coach who can retool a team on the fly.

Matt Ryan is still fifth in the NFL in passing yards (1,472), but he is also 35 and his completion rate of 63.2% is the lowest its been since early in his career.

The Falcons also fired GM Thomas Dimitroff. What must be decided is whether it is time to draft Ryan’s replacement. If so, the Falcons should hire one of the offensive coordinators such as Bieniemy, McDaniels or Leftwich. If they plan to retool with an improved defense, they may want to give a long interview to Eberflus.

Swinney-Lawrence Double is Entertaining Longshot

With the Falcons already 0-5, some fans have become intrigued by the idea of “Tanking for Trevor”. The idea would be to earn the No. 1 pick, selecting 6-foot-6 Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and then persuading Clemson Dabo Swinney to come with him.

But Jacksonville and New York Jets fans are thinking about the same scenario.

More importantly,  Swinney is already being paid better than many NFL coaches and he’s unlikely to leave the college game. But you never know for sure.

Bieniemy a Good Value Bet

Bieniemy is overdue to land an NFL head coaching job.  Watching the Bieniemy-guided Chiefs’ offense is like watching a laser show, with plenty of flash, dazzle and modern wizardry.  The Falcons would garner plenty of respect if they hire Bieniemy as coach.

If you don’t want to bet on Riley as the top favorite, but want a quality bet at a decent price, Bieniemy is a good choice. Hiring Bieniemy and drafting a young quarterback feels like a winning strategy.

Pick: Bieniemy (+400)

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