Falcons add two former head coaches to offensive staff in Dirk Koetter, Mike Mularkey

Falcons add two former head coaches to offensive staff in Dirk Koetter, Mike Mularkey

After making major coaching changes everywhere except at head coach, the Falcons have added two former NFL head coaches to their staff. Joining head coach Dan Quinn in Atlanta are Dirk Koetter and Mike Mularkey, the Falcons announced on Tuesday. Both will work on the offensive side of the ball.  Mularkey, the former head coach of

After making major coaching changes everywhere except at head coach, the Falcons have added two former NFL head coaches to their staff. Joining head coach Dan Quinn in Atlanta are Dirk Koetter and Mike Mularkey, the Falcons announced on Tuesday. Both will work on the offensive side of the ball. 

Mularkey, the former head coach of the Bills, Jaguars and Titans, will be the team’s new tight ends coach. Koetter, the former Buccaneers coach who got fired after posting 19-29 record in three seasons, will take over at offensive coordinator, filling the role vacated by Steve Sarkisian. 

This isn’t Koetter’s first stint in Atlanta. From 2012-14, Koetter served as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator under Mike Smith before he landed in Tampa Bay. The Falcons finished as a top-10 offense (in terms of yards) twice in his three seasons in charge. Over the past four seasons, three of which Koetter spent as a head coach, the Buccaneers offense finished as a top-10 offense in terms of yards three times, but no higher than 12th in points. 

Koetter is now inheriting an offense that ranked sixth in yards, 10th in points, and eighth in DVOA, and a quarterback in Matt Ryan who threw for 4,924 yards and 35 touchdowns this season. Expectations will be high — just like how expectations were high when Sarkisian replaced Kyle Shanahan. An offense this talented is expected to be among the game’s best, and even that wasn’t enough for Sarkisian to keep his job after this past season.

This also isn’t Mularkey’s first stint with the Falcons. From 2008-11 — the first four years of Ryan’s career — he was their offensive coordinator. Now as the tight ends coach he’ll work with a group led by Austin Hooper, who is coming off a 71-catch, 660-yard, and four-touchdown season.

There’s a very real chance that Atlanta will be a one-year pit stop for both coaches given the uncertainty surrounding Quinn’s job security.

Quinn held onto his job despite the Falcons’ 7-9 record, but it’s never a good sign for a coach when everyone around him is getting fired. It’s not difficult to imagine the Falcons moving in a different direction if they don’t rebound with a playoff appearance in 2019. And for the Falcons to get back to the playoffs, they’ll need their defense to improve. That task falls on Quinn, a defensive-minded coach.

If Quinn can’t fix a defense that ranked 28th in yards allowed, 25th in points allowed and 31st in DVOA, it might not matter how Koetter and Mularkey fare in their return to Atlanta. All three could be looking for new jobs a year from now.

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