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Garrett in Atlanta for second interview with Falcons
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ATLANTA (AP) _ One day after introducing their new general manager, the Atlanta Falcons got back to work trying to find a head coach Wednesday, meeting with Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett for the second time.
Thomas Dimitroff, who was hired as GM last weekend, indicated the Falcons may have their man by the end of this week.
If that's the case, Garrett and former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan would appear to be at the head of the list. They are the only two candidates to get a second interview with Atlanta so far.
One day after spending more than six hours meeting with the Ravens about their coaching vacancy, Garrett was in Atlanta for the first time to talk again with the Falcons, said a person familiar with the search, speaking on condition of anonymity because no decision had been made.
Garrett's first interview with the Falcons was conducted in Dallas while he prepared for the playoffs. The Cowboys were upset by the New York Giants on Sunday, freeing up the 41-year-old coordinator to hit the road for interviews.
Dimitroff and owner Arthur Blank have the final say on a new coach, though team president Rich McKay, who previously served as general manager, also has been involved in the dual process to find both a GM and a coach.
"We're looking for a very good leader. We're looking for a very good football mind," Dimitroff said.
The Falcons really need to get this one right. This will be their sixth head coach since Blank purchased the team in 2002, including a pair of interim bosses.
Emmitt Thomas coached the final three games this season after Bobby Petrino stunningly resigned without even making it through the first year of his five-year, $24 million contract. No one on Petrino's staff was part of the search, and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer already left for the same job with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Whoever gets the job will take over a franchise in disarray, largely the result of Michael Vick's federal prison sentence for dogfighting. The team slumped to 4-12 this season and faces a major rebuilding job.
Without Vick, the offense was downright anemic. The Falcons went through three starting quarterbacks, ranking 23rd in total offense (301 yards per game) and 29th in scoring (16.2 points a game).
Garrett oversaw a Dallas offense that ranked second in the NFL with 455 points and third in total offense (365.7 yards). Quarterback Tony Romo set franchise records with 36 touchdown passes and 4,211 yards passing as the Cowboys went 13-3 during the regular season.
Working against Garrett: Dallas struggled down the stretch, averaging just 10.5 points in their final four games, including the stunning playoff loss to the Giants.
Garrett was a quarterbacks coach for two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, then joined the Cowboys a year ago as offensive coordinator before the team even hired Wade Phillips as head coach.
Before coaching, Garrett spent 12 years in the NFL as a quarterback, mostly as a backup with Dallas and the New York Giants.
The Falcons also have interviewed Indianapolis assistant head coach Jim Caldwell, Jacksonville defensive coordinator Mike Smith and Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Former Dallas assistant head coach Tony Sparano met with Atlanta, as well, but he's off the market. The Miami Dolphins hired him Wednesday as their new head coach.

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