Falcons set for second interview with Cardinals' Bowles

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons' coach search will enter a new phase on Wednesday when they have their second interview with Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

Bowles' agent, Tony Agnone, on Tuesday confirmed plans for the second meeting with the Falcons. Bowles was scheduled to interview with the New York Jets on Tuesday.

The Falcons are expected to have a second interview with Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin later this week.

The team is seeking to replace Mike Smith, who was fired following a 6-10 finish in 2014.

The talks with Bowles and Austin could determine if the Falcons wait for a second meeting with Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is unavailable this week as the Seahawks prepare for Sunday's NFC championship game.

If the Seahawks beat Green Bay on Sunday, Quinn may not be open for more talks with Atlanta until after the Feb. 1 Super Bowl.

Bowles, 51, was Philadelphia's defensive coordinator in 2012 before building one of the league's top defenses in Arizona. The Cardinals ranked fifth in the league, allowing 18.7 points per game.

He previously was a defensive assistant with the Jets, Cleveland, Dallas and Miami. He was 2-1 as the Dolphins' interim head coach in 2011.

Austin, 49, was Baltimore's secondary coach for three years before becoming Detroit's defensive coordinator for the 2014 season.

The Falcons' search has focused on top defensive coordinators after former Jets coach Rex Ryan, also known for defense, was hired as Buffalo's new coach. It's not a new strategy. Smith was the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-07 before being hired by Atlanta.

Atlanta has struggled on defense while finishing a combined 10-22 the past two seasons. The Falcons allowed the most total yards and yards passing in the league this season.

The two straight losing seasons followed five straight winning seasons under Smith.

The Falcons also have interviewed New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, former Bills coach Doug Marrone and Atlanta special teams coach Keith Armstrong.

It is unclear if the team will seek to interview former Denver coach John Fox, who suddenly became available on Monday. Fox coached in the NFC South with Carolina from 2002-10.