Coaching Buzz: Eagles To Interview Nolan, Armstrong

The Eagles apparently like what they’ve seen from the 13-3 Falcons this season.

Birds 24/7 has confirmed  that the team has asked for permission to interview Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.

Nolan is looking for a second head-coaching opportunity. The 49ers were 18-37 in three-plus seasons under his direction from 2005 to 2008. Nolan has served as a defensive coordinator for seven different teams: the Falcons (2012); Dolphins (2010-2011); Broncos (2009); Ravens (2002-2004); Jets (2000); Redskins (1997-1999); and Giants (1993-1996).

The Falcons are fifth in scoring defense, allowing 18.7 points per game, and rank 11th in Football Outsiders’ defensive rankings.

Nolan was 35 when he first became a defensive coordinator and is now 53.

Armstrong, 47, has been the Falcons’ special-teams coach for the past five seasons. His units have produced up-and-down results, per Football Outsiders’ rankings: seventh in 2008, 22nd in 2009, third in 2010; 22nd in 2011; and 16th in 2012.

Prior to joining the Falcons’ staff, Armstrong served as special-teams coach of the Dolphins from 2001 to 2006 and Chicago’s special teams coach from 1997 to 2000. Armstrong was Atlanta’s secondary coach in 1996 and the Falcons’ safeties coach in 1994 and 1995. He played his college ball at Temple from 1983 to 1986 and served as a graduate assistant with the Owls in 1987. He’s originally from Levittown.

The Rooney Rule stipulates that teams must interview at least one minority candidate. Armstrong would qualify.

Because the Falcons are in the playoffs, Eagles brass are scheduled to travel to Atlanta to interview all three candidates on Wednesday, according to the report.


Andy Reid will be one of three candidates to interview with the Cardinals, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.

Reid has remained committed to coaching somewhere in 2013. The Arizona gig would reunite him with Kevin Kolb, the quarterback he selected in the second round of the 2007 draft. The Cardinals have an elite wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald and several talented pieces on defense like linebacker Daryl Washington, defensive lineman Calais Campbell and cornerback Patrick Peterson.

The other two candidates interviewing for the job are current Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

* It looks like we might have to pump the brakes on the Jon Gruden rumors:

Pompei, a columnist for the National Football Post and Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that Gruden was looking to return, suggesting the Eagles could be a likely landing spot. Either Gruden didn’t receive any offers he liked, or this flip-flopping will continue. Not ready to rule anything out yet.

* The Chip Kelly/Eagles buzz continues.

Jay Gruden cannot interview with teams this week since the Bengals take on the Texans on Saturday.

* And finally, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is staying put.

As always, catch all the latest coaching buzz in our special section.

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  • Rooney Rule Breaker

    Who is going to be the Rooney Rule interview…. my guess is Lovie Smith gets an interview with every team with an opening… none will hire him as head coach but he will get multi offers as a DC….. I don’t think teams should interview a guy just to get around the rule… Smith is a good coach and should get interviews because of that alone

    • Tuck Thompson

      Did you not read the article?

      • sdk152

        In fairness, Armstrong wasn’t in the initial post. He was added later when the entry was updated (hence the confusion). -SK

    • Bob A

      Armstrong.The article makes that abundantly clear.

    • Jimbo

      Lovie Smith very well may get a HC job. He’s reportedly a candidate in Buffalo and San Diego could have interest, too.

  • Mostel

    I like the Atlanta interviews, especially Nolan. I don’t want any parts of Mike Nolan as the head coach, but I’d love him as DC. I’m sure there is a strong chance that Mike Smith, along with the whole staff, gets fired after the Falcons lose to Seattle in the divisional round. It would be something along the lines of Tony Dungy and/or Buddy Ryan getting fired for playoff losses.
    I’d also interview Lovie Smith with an eye on the DC job.

    • Johngiam

      Only way I would be ok with Nolan or love would be as defensive coordinators, and that’s not happening!

      In a dream world this is what we get:
      Bruce ARYIANS HEADCoach, who brings Wisenhunt and hOrton as the offensive and defensive coordinators

      The only reason people even care about Dirk Koetter is cuz Gruden is always nut hugging when they are on monday night.l.his coaching record is terrible!..The only think I want that the falcons have is SEAN WITHERSPOON, and Julio Jones

  • Whoever has the largest binder gets the job.

  • JofreyRice

    I like Mike Nolan, but he had that 49ers squad seriously underperforming before they canned him. He’s possibly the only professional coach I’ve seen that is worse with time management than Andy Reid. I’d love him as the DC, but as a head coach…nah.

    Don’t know too much about Armstrong, but also not a huge fan of Koetter. Why go with Falcons guys? They have a talented roster, that they’ve invested wisely in (GM is a former scout). Whomever takes over the Eagles will be using players picked by a guy that learned everything he knows about football at Fordham law. We’ll need to get a guy that can turn chickens#$!t into chicken salad–a guy like Mike McCoy, Mike Zimmer, or Chip Kelly.

    Arizona is a good spot for Reid to splash down in, the defensive pieces are already in place, he could work to get the offense into position to fail in the playoffs.

    • Johngiam

      Agree with everything but chip Kelly. Want nuttin to do with him or Saban……

      • morgan c

        Yup – no Chip please. No college coaches for that matter. I say in no particular order: McCoy, Zimmer, Whisenhut, or Lovie. Could be happy with Arians or Horton on staff too. Please someone from there!

  • Johngiam

    get me the holy trinity of the steelers! HC Bruce Arians, OC Ken Wisenhunt, Dc Horton!!!

    • morgan c

      Now THAT I agree with.