Lions' Austin has second interview with Falcons today

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

The Lions could find out as early as Wednesday whether they need to search for a new defensive coordinator.

Teryl Austin, who has interviewed for four head coaching jobs and is reportedly a candidate for the Denver Broncos, has a second interview Wednesday with the Atlanta Falcons.

According to multiple reports, Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is the top candidate for the Falcons, but Atlanta couldn't hire Quinn until Seattle is eliminated from the postseason.

Meanwhile, the Falcons already have missed out on two of their top choices with the Buffalo Bills hiring Rex Ryan and the New York Jets hiring Todd Bowles, the former Cardinals defensive coordinator.

Bowles was scheduled to have his second interview Wednesday with the Falcons, but with him accepting the Jets' job Tuesday night, Atlanta moved Austin's interview up from Thursday as was originally planned.

The Falcons could be patient and wait for Quinn, but after missing out on two candidates already, there's a chance they could feel some urgency to make a hiring. There's also no guarantee Quinn would take the job as there are still three other vacancies — Denver, Chicago and San Francisco. Oakland is on the verge of hiring Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, according to ESPN.

Austin, who just finished his first year as defensive coordinator for the Lions, said he would take as many interviews as he could, so if he doesn't earn the Falcons job Wednesday, there's a good chance he would accept the interview request from Denver.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, one snag for Austin was the Falcons weren't impressed with his coordinator candidates in his first interview. If he can woo the Falcons front office Wednesday, there's a chance the Lions will be searching for a new defensive coordinator.

If that's the case, coach Jim Caldwell would determine who would replace Austin, according to general manager Martin Mayhew, and there are two internal candidates who helped Austin's defense become the second-best in the NFL.

Linebackers coach Bill Sheridan was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants in 2009 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2012-13. Secondary coach Alan Williams was the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings from 2012-13.