According to Ben Allbright of KOA in Denver, the Atlanta Falcons have requested to interview Green Bay Packers defensive back coach and passing game coordinator Jerry Gray for their defensive coordinator opening. After the 2022 regular season, the Falcons’ former defensive coordinator Dean Pees retired, leading to the vacancy.
Gray and Falcons head coach Arthur Smith have history, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport noted that they crossed paths in Tennessee during the 2011 to 2013 seasons. Despite the Packers’ defensive woes in 2022, Gray has been a well-respected defensive backs coach in the NFL and has twice been a defensive coordinator at the professional level. On top of being named a DC with the Titans, he was a coordinator with the Buffalo Bills from 2001 to 2005.
Gray, who was a Pro Bowl player during his playing days, was requested to interview for the Indianapolis Colts’ head coaching opening back in 2012 and the Detroit Lions’ head coaching opening in 2008. Despite the coaching openings and general manager vacancies around the league, Gray is the first member of the Packers’ coaching staff or front office to have been reportedly requested to interview for a potential outside promotion this offseason.
As of this moment, there have only been two reported interview requests for the Falcons’ defensive coordinator gig. Beyond Gray, the Falcons have asked to talk to Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, who hasn’t been let out of his contract despite 2022 Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett being fired.
Technically, Denver could block the interview, since it would be a lateral move in the eyes of the league. As the current rules state, teams cannot block a non-head coach from interviewing for a head coaching opportunity, but only positional coaches are free to interview for coordinator positions without restrictions. Evero has also been asked by the Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans to interview for their head coaching openings.