This one looks a little odd. The Falcons pushed aside the Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas as their defensive backs coach and — as reported Monday by esteemed colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter — hired Tim Lewis, who has been fired three times in six years. But the Falcons don’t see it as odd. The Falcons have, you should know, liked Lewis for a long time.
Indeed, the Falcons interviewed Lewis for their head coaching vacancy in January 2004 and seriously considered hiring him. (More seriously than they considered Lovie Smith, who would be named the NFL’s coach of the year in 2005 and would take Chicago to the Super Bowl the next season.) Rich McKay, who headed the search, and Arthur Blank thought Lewis was smart and committed and organized, but they had one problem.
He’d just been fired by Bill Cowher as the Steelers’ defensive coordinator.
If you’re looking for a guy to replace the famous Dan Reeves, it’s a tougher sell to your paying public if said guy has been canned by his previous employer. (The idea is to hire a hot coach, not a cold one.) So the Falcons went with Jim Mora, with whom they were also impressed. He lasted three years.
Lewis has since made the rounds. He was the Giants’ defensive coordinator from 2004 through 2006 and got fired by Tom Coughlin in January 2007. He worked as Carolina’s secondary coach for two seasons and managed not to get fired. He moved to Seattle to work as DBs coach under Mora last season — small world, isn’t it? — and three weeks ago both were out of work.
And now, six years later, the Falcons have hired Tim Lewis. The search this time was headed by Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith, who aren’t easily impressed, and the job is fairly essential. The Falcons ranked 28th in a 32-team league against the pass in 2009 and have a slew of young defensive backs — Thomas DeCoud, Brent Grimes, Chris Houston, William Moore, Christopher Owens — who need instruction.
This, in sum, is a hire that needs to work. I’m guessing it will.