Atlanta Falcons  

 

Ex-Jaguars assistant Koetter agrees to join Falcons as OC

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Completing an unusual swap of offensive coordinators, the Atlanta Falcons hired Dirk Koetter from Jacksonville to replace Mike Mularkey on Sunday, just four days after the Jaguars introduced Mularkey as their new coach.

The Falcons announced the hire shortly after league sources told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora about it. The team had asked to interview Koetter and Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements for the position, La Canfora reported Saturday.

Mularkey was introduced as the Jaguars' coach 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 NFL in total offense and passing yards in 2011. Koetter's offense ranked 29th with an average of 15.2 points per game.

Falcons coach Mike Smith, who has emphasized a run-first philosophy in Atlanta, 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, according to The Associated Press. "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."

Koetter was hired as the Jaguars' offensive coordinator in 2007 and worked with Smith for one year. Smith was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator before he became the Falcons' coach in 2008.

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Koetter, 52, was a combined 66-44 as the coach at Boise State (1998 to 2000) and Arizona State (2001-06). He didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

Koetter inherits an Atlanta 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.

The Falcons lost both coordinators after the season and are still looking to replace defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who moved back to the college ranks to head Auburn's defense. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday that former St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo is a leading candidate to fill the Falcons' defensive coordinator vacancy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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