Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons hire Koetter, Mularkey as offensive assistants

January 08, 2019 - 6:03 pm
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The Falcons have hired Dirk Koetter as the offensive coordinator and Mike Mularkey as the team’s tight ends coach.

“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.”

Koetter’s return to the organization comes after spending four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During Koetter’s first year with the Bucs in 2015, he oversaw the NFL’s fifth-best offense and rushing attack, while also coaching the league’s second-leading rusher in Doug Martin, who rushed for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns. Koetter also had a chance to begin to mold then-rookie quarterback Jameis Winston in 2015. During his rookie season, Winston accounted for 28 total touchdowns (22 passing, six rushing) and threw for 4,042 yards, which were the second-most in a single season in team history and the third-most by a rookie in NFL history.

In 2016, Koetter became the 11th head coach for the Buccaneers and in his first season, he led Tampa Bay to a 9-7 record, the team’s most wins since 2010 and the second-most wins by any coach in their first season with the Buccaneers. Over three seasons as head coach, Koetter still guided the offense, leading them to the NFL’s best passing attack – 294.4 yards per game – and the sixth best total offense – 375.1 – over that period.

Koetter’s first stop in Atlanta came in 2012 when he was tasked to call plays for the offense for the next three seasons. In Koetter’s first two years, he helped a younger Matt Ryan take the next step in his evolution. At the time, Ryan posted several single-season career and franchise records including passing yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage. The combination of Koetter and Ryan over three seasons guided the Falcons offense to the fourth-ranked passing attack (292.0 ypg) and the 10th ranked scoring offense (24.0 ppg) in the NFL from 2012-14. Wide receiver Julio Jones also experienced a breakout year in 2012 under Koetter, setting career-bests – at the time – in receptions (79), receiving yards (1,198) and touchdowns (10) in only his second season.

Before his time in Atlanta, Koetter was the offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2007-11). During the 2010 campaign, Koetter led an offense that saw RB Maurice Jones-Drew lead the NFL in rushing with 1,606 yards on 343 carries. In five seasons in Jacksonville, he coached four different players to six Pro Bowl selections, including Jones-Drew who earned three trips to the Pro Bowl.

Mularkey returns to Atlanta and brings 24 years of coaching experience with him. The former offensive coordinator for the Falcons most recently spent two seasons as the head coach for the Tennessee Titans. In 2016, he led the Titans to their first winning season since 2011, while also sending five players to the Pro Bowl. Mularkey’s unit continued to grow in his second year as head coach, as the team reached the playoffs for the first time in nine years and won their first playoff game since 2003. Also, six of his players were selected to participate in the Pro Bowl that same season.

“Mike brings over 20 years of experience in our league as a former play-caller, head coach and as a player, and we are pleased to have him join our staff,” said Quinn. “He has a good feel for our offense, both in the run game and the pass game, and we feel he will be able to add to the strengths of our tight ends group as we head into 2019.”

Mularkey originally joined Tennessee’s coaching staff in 2014 as the tight ends coach and in 2015, he became the team’s assistant head coach/tight ends coach. During his time in that role, tight end Delanie Walker led the team in receptions and receiving yards both seasons. Walker also earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2015 under Mularkey’s guidance after catching 94 passes for 1,088 yards and six touchdowns.

Before his time in Tennessee, Mularkey spent the 2012 season as the head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mularkey also spent four seasons in Atlanta as the Falcons offensive coordinator. During his time in Atlanta, Mularkey coached future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez for three seasons, helping him earn two Pro Bowl nods in 2010 and 2011 after the 17-year pro racked up 150 catches, 1,531 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns over those two seasons. Mularkey also helped groom a young Matt Ryan when he first entered the league in 2008. Ryan was awarded the AP Rookie of the Year under Mularkey after passing for 3,440 yards and 16 touchdowns and becoming (at the time) only the second rookie quarterback ever to amass over 3,000 passing yards.