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Jim Haslett In The Mix For Atlanta Falcons Defensive Coordinator

On Tuesday, news surfaced that current Seattle Sea Dragons head coach, Jim Haslett, is on the shortlist of candidates to become the Atlanta Falcons’ new defensive coordinator.

The news comes following the retirement of Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who called it a career this last Monday after 50 years in the coaching world and the previous 2 seasons with Atlanta. At 73, Pees was the oldest defensive coordinator in the NFL, having also spent time with the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, and Tennessee Titans.

Haslett, who’s currently 67 years old, played seven seasons as a linebacker for the Buffalo Bills before he eventually transitioned into coaching. In the coaching world, Haslett spent time with various franchises as a defensive coordinator, including the New Orleans Saints (1996), Pittsburgh Steelers (1997 – 1999), St. Louis Rams (2006 – 2008), and the Washington Commanders (2010 – 2014). Haslett also served as head coach of the Saints from 2000 to 2005.

In terms of key connections with the Falcons’ current regime, GM Terry Fontenot worked with Haslett for 3 seasons during his time as the Saints’ head coach in the early 2000s. Additionally, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was on the same coaching staff as Haslett in 2020, when they both worked under Mike Vrabel on the Tennessee Titans.

Over the last several months, Jim Haslett’s been on his way to leading the XFL’s Seattle Sea Dragons as the team’s head coach. However, one has to believe if offered the position of Falcons defensive coordinator; he’ll take it or can he, if he is under contract with the XFL.

While this may come as a surprise to many Sea Dragons fans, Haslett’s dedication to the XFL has been questioned by a few media members off the record for some time now. It’s seemed from early on in the process that Haslett began delegating his responsibilities to Director of Player Personnel Randy Mueller and Offensive Coordinator June Jones.

For example, when all XFL coaches were at the player showcases in 2022, Haslett was not in attendance. Instead, June Jones and Randy Mueller were there in his place, while the other 7 franchises were led by their respective head coaches. Additionally, Haslett was not in attendance at ‘Texas Live’ when the league announced which cities each coach would be assigned to; Mueller also sat in his place there.

This isn’t meant to bash Haslett, as getting an opportunity in the NFL is what leagues like this are all about, even for the coaches. Additionally, we have no idea why he wasn’t at those showcases/events, and he’s currently leading the charge at Sea Dragons training camp.

If he gets the job with the Falcons, we’ll wish him and the new Sea Dragons head coach well in their new endeavors. However, If Haslett doesn’t get the job in Atlanta, Sea Dragons fans will be happy to have him.

While there’s no confirmation on anything yet, June Jones would be the likely candidate to take over as head coach if Haslett leaves, as Jones (with the help of DPP Randy Mueller) led the XFL’s undefeated Houston Roughnecks in 2020.

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Matt Lyons is a Writer/Contributor for XFL News Hub, USFL News Hub, & CFL News Hub, covering the XFL, USFL, ELF, and TSL since August of 2020.

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