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Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett will interview for Falcons head coach job

Green Bay could be in danger of losing one of the key architects of the league’s best offense.

NFL: JUL 27 Packers Training Camp Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A team’s success in the NFL generally means that assistant coaches leave for bigger jobs. The Green Bay Packers have seen countless assistants leave and go on to head coaching positions around the league, particularly individuals who worked for Mike Holmgren in the 1990s. Andy Reid, Jon Gruden, Steve Mariucci, even Mike McCarthy — these are just a few names of head coaches from the Holmgren tree, while former McCarthy assistants like Ben McAdoo and Joe Philbin also earned top jobs of their own.

On Thursday, news broke that for the first time, a Matt LaFleur assistant is interviewing for a head coaching job. That assistant is offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, and according to Ian Rapoport of he has a virtual interview with the Atlanta Falcons today.

Hackett, though not the Packers’ playcaller, has earned a reputation in the building as one of the key building blocks of Green Bay’s offensive game plans. His energy and enthusiasm for football and for coaching have made him a beloved presence within the locker room, as he has helped to make the “Yeet” and “Gold Zone” ideas part of the team’s identity.

This two-year (for now) stint with the Packers is Hackett’s third as an NFL offensive coordinator, having previously served in that capacity under Doug Marrone with the Buffalo Bills (2013-14) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2016-18).

The Falcons are looking to replace Dan Quinn, whom they fired after an 0-5 start in 2020. Interim head coach Raheem Morris, who went 4-7 over the season’s final 11 games, has interviewed for the job. Atlanta has also been connected to a number of other external candidates so far in this process, including Panthers OC Joe Brady, Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles, and 49ers DC Robert Saleh.

So far, this is Hackett’s only head coaching interview. He is allowed to interview this week because the Packers earned a first-round bye in the playoffs.