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Falcons make curious hire of Jags' Koetter as new O-C

Dirk Koetter was named the Falcons' new offensive coordinator Sunday,

Dirk Koetter was named the Falcons' new offensive coordinator Sunday,

ATLANTA — Completing an unusual swap of offensive coordinators, the Falcons hired Dirk Koetter from Jacksonville to replace Mike Mularkey only four days after the Jaguars introduced Mularkey as their new coach.

The Falcons announced the hire on Sunday. ESPN first reported the move.

Mularkey, whose Falcons offense was shut out in a 24-2 playoff loss to the New York Giants last week, was introduced as Jacksonville's coach on Wednesday. He hired former Falcons quarterbacks coach Bob Bratkowski to be his offensive coordinator.

The Falcons hired Koetter despite the Jaguars ranking last in the league in total offense and yards passing in 2011. Koetter's offense ranked 29th with its average of 15.2 points per game.

Koetter was hired as Jacksonville's offensive coordinator in 2007. He worked with Falcons coach Mike Smith for one year. Smith was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator before he became Atlanta's head coach in 2008.

Smith said Koetter will bring "a fresh set of ideas to our offense."

"He is bright, he understands the intricacies of the vertical passing game, but he also wants to be able to run the football which is very important in the NFL," Smith said. "I look forward to working with Dirk and have tremendous confidence that he will be a great addition to our team and our coaching staff."

Smith has emphasized a run-first philosophy with Atlanta.

After the Jaguars fired Jack Del Rio this season, interim coach Mel Tucker assigned Koetter the additional role of quarterbacks coach for the final five games of the season.

Jacksonville rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert and Luke McCown combined for 12 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. The Jaguars' strength was their running game. Maurice Jones-Drew led the NFL with 1,606 yards rushing.

The Falcons lost both coordinators after the season. The team is still looking to replace defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who moved back to the college ranks to head Auburn's defense.

Koetter, 52, was a combined 66-44 as the head coach at Boise State (1998 to 2000) and Arizona State (2001-06).

With Atlanta, Koetter inherits an offense blessed with established starters such as quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Michael Turner, tight end Tony Gonzalez and receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones. With the exception of Jones, who was a breakout rookie in 2011, all those playmakers, plus fullback Ovie Mughelli, have been Pro Bowl selections.

Despite the wealth of talent, the offense was a disappointment as the team suffered its third straight playoff loss in its four years with Smith.

As part of their 2011 draft-day trade with Cleveland to move up in the first round and make Jones the No. 6 overall pick, the Falcons sent the Browns their 2012 first- and fourth-round picks.

That trade leaves the Falcons fewer draft picks this year to address problem areas on the offense, including on the offensive line.

A phone message was left seeking comment from Koetter.

Comments

VSU 2 years, 3 months ago

Wow this is exciting news. It's not like Jacksonville had the best offense in the league. Gee Falcons, is this the best you can come up with?

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Amazed2 2 years, 3 months ago

Strange Hire I agree considering that Jacksonville just cleaned house for Not Getting the job done. But Mike Smith seems to be a smart man but if this does not work out for the Falcons then maybe it will be the last Offensive Co-ordinator that he gets to hire.

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VSU 2 years, 3 months ago

I guess he is thinking the Falcons have better talent offensively than Jacksoville does, but I don't know. I guess we'll have to see how it plays out.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 3 months ago

Another stupid move by the Falcons. They may not win 6 games next year now.

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VSU 2 years, 2 months ago

Yo coach, never thought I would agree with you and I do say that I hope you are wrong, but I can't say that you are. I just wonder what brilliant defensive co-ordinator they will hire. The Falcons badly regressed from last year going from 13-3 to 10-6 and a lot of those wins were a lot closer than they should have been. Was last year the Falcons peak year? Does everything go down hill from here? The Falcons could lose some key players via free agency and how well will they respond to the new coaches. Well, like I said earlier, we'll just have to see how it plays out.

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The_Dude 2 years, 2 months ago

A monkey could coach that offense to 10 wins. The D-coordinator hire is the key to winning in the playoffs.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 2 months ago

Falcons need some real linebackers and a shut down corner like Neion Deion Sanders used to be...., On offense, they need another reciever and a another half-back. Julio Jones cant stay healthy, and Michael Turner needs some help. Roddy White cant do it all by himself. Matt Ryan is fine, but a nice back-up wouldnt hurt any......then even maybe with that sorry new O-Coordinator they will have a chance. Hopefully he wont go for it on 4th and 1 with an empty backfield like Mike Smith was calling.

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VSU 2 years, 2 months ago

Gosh, two in a row on agreement. I feel 100% the same way about the back up QB. I think Redman will be gone, which doesn't bother me. the Falcons offense was at a stand still when Redman was playing. I would love to see Atlanta with a break out running back with speed. I'd be happy with the RB from Jacksonville. (Jones Drew)?

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The_Dude 2 years, 2 months ago

You folks are out of your mind. The offensive skill players aren't the problem. Turner is a great back, two good receivers is all you need to win in the league and they have that. Falcons need to retool the o-line and draft a tight end because Tony Gonzo won't last forever. That's it on offense. The defense is the problem. You win up front and their ends don't cut it. Abraham will be gone, draft a DE in the first round (oh wait, they traded that pick for Julio last year).

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VSU 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't think no one said anything about replacing Turner, just to get someone to help out to work along with him.

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bubbasmithredneck 2 years, 2 months ago

VSU and Coach is right.....THE FALCONS NEED HELP ON OFFENSE ALSO. See, Matt Ryan is getting it done with a average O-Line, but injuries on offense is killing us. Julio is made out of tissue because he is soft! He gets hurt every 3 games. I agree,Tony G is older than a cup of dirt, but he is still reliable. He will be the first grandfather tight-end in the league. They do need a back-up QB who is awesome. Why not? Matt Ryan will be hurt soon.....then what? HEY DUDE, no offense, because you are right that the defense sucks a little too, but Coach and VSU got you on this one!

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