Blank to meet with Colts' Polian, Caldwell about GM, coaching vacancies
ATLANTA -- Apparently intent on not only identifying worthy candidates, but also in getting the most bang for his travel dollar, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank will interview two Indianapolis Colts staffers on Thursday for the separate jobs of general manager and head coach.
Colts vice president of football operations Chris Polian will become the latest candidate to interview for the general manager position. Assistant head coach Jim Caldwell is believed to be the first man with whom Blank will meet about the coaching vacancy.
ESPN.com reported on Wednesday morning that the Falcons this week would interview a pair of Green Bay Packers scouting officials, director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie and personnel analyst John Schneider, for the position of general manager. Those interviews actually took place later Wednesday in Green Bay.
Blank will travel to Dallas on Friday to interview Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano, as well as offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, for the Falcons' coaching vacancy.
Polian, 36, is the son of Indianapolis team president and general manager Bill Polian and, despite his youth, has a long and impressive scouting background. His first job in the league was as a pro scout in Carolina (1994-97), and he joined the Colts' personnel staff as director of pro scouting in 1998. He has served as assistant general manager and is in his third season as vice president of football operations.
The highly regarded Caldwell, who in addition to his assistant head coach responsibilities also serves as the Colts' quarterbacks coach, interviewed for the Atlanta head coach position last year as well.
Caldwell, 52, has been on the Indianapolis staff since 2002. He also worked with Colts coach Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay. Caldwell was the coach at Wake Forest for eight seasons (1993-2000).
Although it is likely Blank will hire a general manager before a head coach, the Falcons are conducting a simultaneous process, in part to adhere to NFL rules regarding interviews with coaches in the playoffs.
Teams seeking new head coaches can interview assistants from clubs with playoff byes this week, but the sessions must take place by Saturday. After that, coaches from playoff franchises can only be interviewed after their teams are eliminated, or during the "open" week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
Bobby Petrino resigned as Falcons coach with three games remaining in his first season to accept the head coaching job at the University of Arkansas. Shortly thereafter, Blank announced current president/general manager Rich McKay would lose his oversight of the personnel department.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.