The Atlanta Falcons could move forward with two hot head-coaching candidates leading the team in 2015, if they decide to go that route.
A source indicated that part of Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin's pitch to become the Falcons' head coach is to bring Adam Gase along as his offensive coordinator. Gase, the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos this season, was a finalist for the San Francisco 49ers' coaching job and was among the first group of candidates interviewed by Falcons owner Arthur Blank and the search committee.
Although Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn emerged as the favorite for the Falcons after the first round of interviews, Austin had a chance to make a strong case during his second interview Thursday. With Gase in the mix, the potential formidable combination might not only fix a broken defense but also add more juice to an already potent offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan and Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones.
If Gase joins the Falcons and takes their offense to another level, it would make him that much more attractive for head-coaching opportunities next year.
Both Quinn and Austin have contacted Gase about becoming offensive coordinator in Atlanta, a source said.
Because Gase has already met with Atlanta's brain trust in interviewing for the head-coaching job, the Falcons would be a convenient fit for him. Atlanta is considered the most appealing landing spot for Gase given the presence of Ryan, Jones and other pieces on an offense that finished eighth in the NFL in yards per game in 2014.
In addition to San Francisco and Atlanta, Gase interviewed for head-coaching jobs in Buffalo, Chicago and Denver. His formal interview with the Broncos was taking place Thursday.
The Falcons are expected to formally request permission for another discussion with Gase, who received a similar request from the St. Louis Rams and had interest from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders in the past 24 hours.
Austin has also interviewed with the Bears. He was scheduled to interview with the Broncos on Friday, but he has withdrawn from consideration for that job, sources told ESPN's Josina Anderson.
The Falcons are willing to wait for Quinn to finish his playoff run, with the Seahawks a favorite to repeat as Super Bowl champions. But Austin's proposal could be rather enticing to Blank.
Austin engineered the league's top-ranked rushing defense (69.3 yards per game) and second-ranked total defense (300.9 yards per game). The Lions tied for second in scoring defense, allowing just 17.6 points per game.
ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner contributed to this report.