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Atlanta Falcons: Smith Is Happy That Koetter Is Staying On Board


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Atlanta Falcons: Smith is happy that Koetter is staying on board

4:31 pm January 2, 2013, by D. Orlando Ledbetter

By CARROLL ROGERS

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter withdrew from consideration for NFL head coaching vacancies and signed on for another season with the Falcons.

Falcons coach Mike Smith said Koetter informed him of his decision to stay Tuesday night, after the first-year Falcons coordinator reportedly interviewed with the Chiefs and cancelled interviews with the Browns and the Eagles.

Instead, Koetter spent Wednesday at practice and then game-planning for a potential match-up with the Seahawks, the first of three scenarios Falcons coaches are preparing for over three days of this bye week before the divisional playoff Jan. 13.

Koetter’s contract was extended through the 2013 season.

“I spoke with coach Koetter last night and am very excited that he’s going to be here with us,” Smith said after practice Wednesday. “Continuity is very important … (for) your football team and coaching staff. I’m glad. Dirk’s a very good football coach. He’s done a nice job for us. We’ve put that to rest.”

Former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey left last year to become head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Had Koetter departed, it would have meant the Falcons had their third offensive coordinator in three years. Instead Koetter returns to work with quarterback Matt Ryan, whom he’s helped to a franchise-record 4,719 yards passing and 32 touchdowns, and receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones, who each surpassed 1,000 yards in receptions this season.

Koetter was not made available for comment, as is the Falcons’ option on a bye week. But Koetter could presumably use another year with Ryan and company to continue to build his resume and position himself for a better job down the line, rather than take a job with a questionable quarterback situation in a year when the draft is believed to be thin at the position.

His current quarterback appreciates having him back.

“I’m excited about it,” Ryan said. “He’s obviously a great coach and has helped us out a bunch this year. I think the guys enjoy working with him and learning from him. I’m excited he’s going to be here, and I know the guys are, too.”

Ryan has flourished in Koetter’s more aggressive offensive style, which features a more vertical passing attack.

“I think the thing everybody respects and likes the most is that he trusts our guys to go out there and make plays,” Ryan said. “He’s not afraid to be aggressive and it’s been fun.”

Ryan said Koetter made a big impression on the players when he made an effort to adapt to their offensive terminology and not the other way around.

“One of the biggest things that helped throughout the situation was him adapting to the terminology and a lot of the concepts that we used,” Ryan said. “One guy changing for the mass, as opposed to the mass changing for the one guy. I think guys really respected that and appreciated that.”

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