Quarterback Matt Ryan is enjoying his best season in 5 years with the Falcons.
So it’s no wonder Ryan was happy to hear that offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter won’t be leaving to take a head coaching job with another NFL team.
”The thing I think everybody respects and is keen on the most is that he trusts our guys to go out there and make the plays,” Ryan asserted. ”He’s not afraid to be aggressive. It’s been fun.”
Ryan has worked just one season with Koetter, who has signed a contract extension to remain with the team through 2014, and the results have been impressive for the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed.
Roddy White and Julio Jones each have over 1,000 yards receiving. Tight end Tony Gonzalez leads the team in catches, and Ryan has his best season as a professional.
The only disadvantage has been the substantial decline in production from running back Michael Turner, but Ryan credits the coach’s game plans and play-calling in helping the Falcons (13-3) enjoy a bye week before they host a divisional round game January 13.
”I think he does a good job of putting all our guys in position to succeed,” Ryan said. ”He changes it up and puts different guys out there at different times.”
Koetter’s name surfaced as a head coaching candidate in Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons moved to re-sign Koetter after his interview with Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt.
Atlanta coach Mike Smith declined to give details of the developments concerning Koetter and other job offers.
”I do not want to really get into any of the details,” Smith said. ”Dirk is going to be here with us. He informed me of that yesterday. We talked at length. This is where we’re at right now.”
Koetter, who spent the previous 5 years as coordinator in Jacksonville, oversees an offense that ranks 2nd in 3rd-down potency, 7th in scoring and fewest sacks allowed and 8th in total yards.
A lot of the Falcons’ success offensively has been credited to the numbers produced by Ryan, White, Gonzalez and Jones, but Koetter doesn’t rely only on his stars.
Everyone appears to get some action because Koetter has 5 potential receiving targets on the field for nearly every snap.
Relatively anonymous players like receiver Drew Davis, tight end Michael Palmer and offensive tackle Mike Johnson have caught touchdown passes. Odds
Some personnel groupings include reserve running backs Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling on the field for the same play. And opponents do not know if White, Jones or perhaps Gonzalez will line up wide, in the slot or in the backfield.
”Using all your guys keeps everybody motivated, gives everybody something to prepare for each week,” Koetter asserted last week.
”I think our high this year was 32 staff groups. We usually average in the low 20s with many different combinations of guys. It is fun for the guys and lets the coaches who have different parts of the game plan be creative in how we use our guys.”