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Dirk Koetter is the new Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator (again)

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Koetter, who presided over the offense from 2012-2014, will attempt to elevate a top 10 unit further.

Atlanta Falcons v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

When this process began, I never would have suspected that the Falcons would hire 2012-2014 offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter as their replacement for Steve Sarkisian. Yet that’s exactly what they’ve done, as we learned today that Koetter is the newest Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator.

The team confirmed the news on Tuesday. Dan Quinn’s response won’t surprise you.

“We are fired up to have Dirk join our staff as our offensive coordinator,” Quinn said via the team’s media relations staff. “His experience and familiarity with our division will also pay dividends as we move forward.”

Why Koetter? The Falcons will have plenty to say, I’m certain, but familiarity with Matt Ryan has to be a leading factor whether the team will admit it or not. Ryan likes, respects and had some genuine success with Koetter, albeit mostly only for a single season, and Koetter can slide right in with this quarterback and this personnel group without a major transition for anyone. That had to be attractive for Dan Quinn, who just cleaned out all his coordinators and is not looking for any sort of rebuild or teardown whatsoever. Koetter’s involvement, however faint, with a tremendously productive passing game in Tampa Bay also didn’t hurt his cause. He’s a solid hire with a long track record in the NFL.

The case against Koetter is pretty straightforward, as well. He’s never been the play caller for an elite offense in his career, coming closest with a majestic rushing attack in 2007 in Jacksonville and in 2012 with a Falcons team that went all the way to the Conference Championship Game.

Other than that, he’s mostly presided over solid-but-unspectacular units, many with severe personnel limitations. It was deeply concerning to see him take over play calling from Todd Monken this season, however briefly, and watch a productive Tampa Bay passing attack go into the toilet. Koetter’s track record simply has not been good enough to feel wonderful about this hire, with the acknowledgement that he’s never had such an elite personnel grouping before, not with Michael Turner declining so sharply back in 2012.

We’ll have to hope this hire surprises us, then, and that Koetter will prove more a visionary than a steward after Steve Sarkisian milquetoastedly called this Falcons offense into a top 10 finish in 2018. If he can elevate this team’s offense even further as they look to rebound in 2019, Koetter will be a very popular man in Atlanta.