Report: Falcons could pursue Lions' Teryl Austin

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Teryl Austin's defense has been ranked among the best in the NFL all season.

When the regular season ends today, the NFL coaching carousel will start to move as some head coaches learn tonight or Monday they will not be retained.

And some of the teams that fire their coaches could look to at least one of the Lions assistant coaches as a candidate.

According to CBS Sports, the Falcons are interested in interviewing Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin if they fire Mike Smith after the season. According to the report, it would likely take a playoff berth and multiple wins for Smith to retain his job, and if he doesn't, Atlanta will quickly put in a request to interview Austin.

In Austin's first year as an NFL defensive coordinator, the Lions rank first in run defense and second in total defense and points allowed. He said recently he would "absolutely" be open to interview opportunities next week if the Lions earn a bye.

The Lions will be either the No. 1 or 2 seed in the NFC with a win today in Green Bay. A loss would drop them to the No. 6 seed, and if that's the case, Austin couldn't take interviews until after the wild card round.

Other teams could be interested in Austin, too, as he's received a majority of credit for the Lions' defensive prowess this year. If he does land a head coaching job, he'll draw comparisons to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who became a head coach after just one year as a defensive coordinator.