Atlanta Falcons: Dirk Koetter to Take over as New Offensive Coordinator

Zayne Grantham@ZPGSportsContributor IIIJanuary 15, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - CIRCA 2010:  In this handout photo provided by the NFL,  Dirk Koetter of the Jacksonville Jaguars poses for his 2010 NFL headshot circa 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons have announced that they hired former Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to take the same role for the Falcons.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that the Falcons announced the move Sunday morning.

Falcons' head coach Mike Smith worked with Koetter during his time in Jacksonville and that could be a big reason as to why he is now in Atlanta. Koetter's coaching career has consisted of many offensive coordinator spots in the college ranks and he has been the coordinator in Jacksonville since 2007.

Koetter will be replacing Mike Mularkey, who was hired away from the Falcons to become the Jaguars' new head coach.

Mularkey had mild success in Atlanta with a very talented offensive roster. The Falcons are one of the NFL's most explosive teams when operating on all cylinders but Mularkey was rarely able to get his team to their full potential in 2011.

Mularkey's last game with the Falcons was an embarrassing 24-2 loss to the New York Giants in last week's NFC Wild Card Round. Koetter will come into an organization that has its franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan, as well weapons all over the field.

Koetter will inherit a roster with talented receivers such as Roddy White, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas, as well as All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons still have Pro-Bowl running back Michael Turner and backups Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers are capable of filling in for Turner.

The only weakness on the Falcons' offense is the offensive line. Ryan was hit too many times in 2011 and Koetter will likely work on finding some help for Ryan immediately.

Koetter will not create the excitement in Atlanta that a big name coach may have created but he could be exactly what the Falcons need. Hype has surrounded the Falcons for almost two years now and a championship has been in the expectations.

The Falcons may be able to come into the 2012 season a little under the radar and that is exactly where Koetter, Smith and the Falcons need to be.