Dan Quinn is back. Thomas Dimitroff is too. Both will now report directly to Rich McKay, and Raheem Morris will coordinate the defense. In all likelihood, Ben Kotwica will be back as the special teams coordinator, leaving only one major question to answer.
That question, of course, is whether the Falcons will also bring back Dirk Koetter.
The argument for not doing so is reflected below, but in record time, Dan Quinn blew up the premise of this article by suggesting he’s probably going to keep Koetter around.
Dan Quinn said he's inclined to stick with Dirk Koetter to be the offensive coordinator in 2020.— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) December 27, 2019
Koetter’s Falcons team is currently 13th in scoring, 5th in yardage, 3rd in passing yardage and 7th in passing touchdowns, and 30th in rushing yardage and 22nd in rushing touchdowns. That’s a very good offense, but bear in mind that Steve Sarkisian’s 2018 Falcons offense was 10th in scoring and 6th in yards, so the improvement has been minimal-to-nonexistent.
In Koetter’s previous stop in Atlanta, his teams were 7th, 20th, and 12th in scoring and 8th, 14th, and 8th in yardage, or pretty consistently above average-to-good. He’s never had a great rushing offense, however, and he’s never managed to put together a top five scoring offense despite the obvious talent on hand. That makes it hard to believe that there’s going to be significant short-term improvement, especially since Koetter’s offense was best in his first year the last time around.
So what will the Falcons do?
The case for keeping Koetter is that he’s experienced, would be entering his second year and theoretically should get more out of a Falcons team with a healthy and improved offensive line, and that Matt Ryan evidently likes him a great deal. That case rests on several assumptions—that experience means a lot when there are smart young play callers out there and that improvement is a given—that I would not be comfortable making if I was trying not to lose a disgruntled fanbase.
The case against him is much more straightforward. Koetter is not an imaginative play caller much of the time, he’s never presided over an elite ground game, and this offense has definitely underachieved with him at the helm. The defense seems to be in much better hands, and the Falcons being sunk by an offense that’s not quite as good as it could be would be a very tough pill for everyone from Arthur Blank on down to swallow.
It’s likely, though. Koetter will get another chance with all the other guys getting another chance, and all we can do is hope that doesn’t doom this team again in 2020.