Cowboys coordinator Garrett set for second interview with Ravens, Falcons
Wasting little time in taking advantage of Dallas' divisional-round loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons both arranged for second interviews with Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
Garrett, who arrived at the Ravens' training complex for the second interview on Tuesday morning, becomes the first candidate to have call-back sessions with the Ravens and Falcons.
It is not known if other candidates have been contacted about follow-up sessions in Baltimore, but many in the league believe that, with Garrett free to accept the job, the Ravens could move quickly to try to strike an agreement with him.
The two sides previously met in Baltimore for several hours on Jan. 5, during the weekend in which the Cowboys had a first-round bye. Atlanta officials interviewed Garrett for four hours in Dallas on Jan. 4.
Under league rules, the Ravens could not meet again with Garrett until Dallas was eliminated from the playoffs, or in the "open" week between the conference championship games and Super Bowl XLII.
In all, the Ravens have formally interviewed five other known candidates: Indianapolis assistant head coach Jim Caldwell; Philadelphia secondary coach John Harbaugh; former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan; New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer; and Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano.
The agent for former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer said last week there were also preliminary discussions with his client. Schottenheimer reiterated over the weekend, however, that he is unlikely to return to coaching.
Baltimore players, particularly from the defensive side, have lobbied publicly for Ryan to get the job. But it's believed that owner Steve Bisciotti will go in a different direction. Ryan is thought to be a strong candidate in Atlanta, where team officials were very impressed with him. But the Falcons on Saturday hired New England college scouting director Thomas Dimitroff as general manager, and he will have considerable input into the coaching decision.
Given the struggles of the Ravens' offense the past several seasons, Bisciotti could be looking for a coach to remedy the shortcomings on that side of the ball. Of course, Billick earned his stripes as an offensive coordinator and, in his nine seasons, the Ravens never ranked higher than 14th in the league in total offense.
Garrett, 41, is a veteran of only three seasons as an NFL assistant. He was hired by the Cowboys as offensive coordinator in 2007, after two seasons on the Miami Dolphins' staff. In 2007, he presided over a unit that statistically ranked No. 3 in the league, but struggled in the final month of the year and in Sunday's playoff loss.
A former Princeton quarterback, Garrett played 12 seasons in the NFL as a backup, serving stints with Dallas (1993-99), the Giants (2000-03), Tampa Bay (2004), and Miami (2004). He also played in the World League (1991) and in the CFL (1991).
Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.