FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Atlanta Falcons hired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter to be their offensive coordinator on Tuesday.
Koetter, 59, was the Buccaneers’ head coach for three seasons (2016-18) and compiled a 19-29 overall record. The Buccaneers offense, however, ranked first in the league in passing yards per game (320.3), third in yards per game (415.5) and 12th in scoring (24.8 points per game).
“We are fired up to have Dirk join our staff as our offensive coordinator,” head coach Dan Quinn said. “His experience and familiarity with our division will also pay dividends as we move forward.”
This will be Koetter’s second stint in Atlanta as he held the same position from 2012-14. During his first three seasons with the Falcons, Koetter guided the Falcons’ offense to the NFC Championship Game with the seventh-best scoring offense that year. Each year Koetter was in Atlanta, the Falcons had a top-10 passing attack (eighth in 2012, third in 2013 and third in 2014).
In Koetter’s final season as offensive coordinator for the Falcons, his unit averaged 23.8 points per game, which was 12th in the league. Koetter showed he can get the most out of his players with both quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones named to the Pro Bowl that season.
After his first season as offensive coordinator in Tampa, Koetter was named the head coach after the 2015 season.
After finishing the 2018 regular season with a 7-9 mark, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn relieved all three of his coordinators of their duties. Quinn said the “compass was off” in terms of the identity he wants his team to play with.
On offense that identity entails not just a strong passing attack, but a commitment to the run. The Falcons’ offense is predicated off the run game as it sets up their play-action passing game. When Atlanta’s offense was at its best in 2018, the balance between the run and the pass was there.
Koetter will be tasked with getting the Falcons’ run game back to the level it was in 2016 when they had the league’s fifth-best rushing attack. The Falcons finished the year with the No. 27th rushing offense, averaging 98.3 yards per game on the ground.