Atlanta Falcons: Koetter ready to face the ‘Wide Tackle Nine’

OC Dirk Koetter is in search of that perfect game.

OC Dirk Koetter is in search of that perfect game.

FLOWERY BRANCH –Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said the offense is search of that perfect game.

He knows achieving that goal will be difficult against a talented Eagles’ defense that will be playing its first game under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles when the Falcons face the Eagles at 1 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Here are some excerpts from Koetter’s weekly media session.

Q: What were you all able to ascertain from your bye-week self scout?

A: When you’ve got a week to study yourself, you can spin those numbers and spin those plays a lot of different ways. I would choose to keep some of those findings to myself, but we want to run the ball better, we want to pass it better and we want to score more points. We definitely have not played our best football on offense yet. We studied ourselves across the board in every situation. We need to get better across the board and I’m confident that they guys will try to do that.

Q: What does Coach Smith mean when he says he wants to be a scoring offense?

A: It’s just human nature. The runners want to run more. The passers want to pass more. The catchers want to catch more. That’s how it is on every team. We’re always in search of the perfect game and we haven’t found it yet.

Q: Do you attack the Philadelphia cornerbacks?

A: They definitely have two outstanding corners. Unless they are going to play three corners, they can’t put a corner on all three of our guys. Matchups are one of the key parts of this game. Every game has some plus and minus matchups for both sides. They have two awesome corners and they’ve been matching them on wideouts. I haven’t seen them matching them on tight ends this year, but anything is possible.

Q: Can you define the ‘Wide Tackle Nine’ defense for the fans?

A: Well, Coach (Jim) Washburn, we played against him when I was at Jacksonville and he was at Tennessee. The wide nine is a defensive end playing outside of your tight end alignment. Conventional defensive ends play the inside eye or head up, face to face with your tight end. They play their defensive ends outside of your tight end and they violently crash down through the outside eye of the tight end and try to squeeze the offense and get up the field and pressure the quarterback. They are very good at it.

Q: How important will the battle on third down be in order to sustain drives.

A: Real important. They are one of the best teams at stopping an offense on third down. We’ve been one of the top five teams at converting third downs. Whoever wins that matchup and turnovers will be the keys to that game.

Q: What had Demeco Ryans added to that defense?

A: He sort of a quarterback to the defense. He’s actually their leading tackler right now. Very smart, instinctive players. Always seems to be in position. It’s hard to get him out of positions. They leave him on the field in (nickel) which is unusual that the middle linebacker stays on in nickel situations. That shows how much they think of his ability. This guys is a top flight middle linebacker in the league.

Q: How much has the defensive coordinator change affected your preparation?

A: That’s the million dollar question this week because you don’t really know the answer. All we can go with is what they have been doing so far. Obviously, there is going to be some kind of a change or they wouldn’t have changed coordinators. The talk seems to be is that they are going to become more of a pressure team. They have not been a big pressure team in terms of how many guys they rush. But they do put a lot of pressure on the quarterback with the four-man rush, as good as any team in the league. So, I guess if I was reading between the lines, I would say they are going to blitz more. We don’t know because even though Coach Bowles has done a lot in his career, he’s not called the defenses as a coordinator before that I know of. So we’re going to be learning about his tendencies for the first time and we’ll just have to adjust the best that we can.

Q: Jason Babin and Trent Cole’s numbers are down, but are they still playing at a high level?

A: Yes, they are. More than any team that we play, they are two deep on their d-line and they play their second unit more than most teams. They do a good job of keeping their guys fresh and their second unit is extremely talented as well. They’ve got a first-round draft pick in their second wave. They are comparable to a hockey line. They just roll the next group in there. They have four or five very capable defensive ends.

Q: How is Cullen Jenkins playing for them?

A: I don’t think he has a sack to date, but you just would not know it from watching the tape. He’s a very disruptive player. It’s going to be a big challenge for our offensive line and our entire offensive team to deal with that front.

Q: Where Matt Ryan’s interceptions against Oakland a result of pressure between the A and B gaps?

A: The three interceptions last week. Matt just didn’t read it correctly. We had two other guys open and we threw to wrong guy and the (Oakland) guy made a nice play. One of them, we misidentified it and they did blitz us through the A gap. We did plenty of blockers. We just blocked the wrong guys. They hit Matt right as he was throwing and the third interception on the deep ball was a bad call by me. I shouldn’t have had us in that play. It was three different causes for those interceptions. They may or may not blitz us more, but I don’t think it will be because of that.

Q: Do you all want to get Tony Gonzalez his 100th touchdown?

A: I would love to get it. We wanted to get it in the last game. We are working on it.


Q&A: Falcons coach Mike Smith on first practice after the bye week

Tight end Michael Palmer (shoulder injury) returned to practice on Monday

Defensive tackle Corey Peters (stress fracture left foot) returned to practice on Monday


Falcons shrugging off critics

Nicholas held out of practice with ankle injury

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Tony Dungy tells Mike Smith, ‘Get Michael Turner back involved’

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29 comments Add your comment

SeenThis B4

October 24th, 2012
10:51 am

First! Go Eagles

SeenThis B4

October 24th, 2012
11:02 am

What you should have asked him was “How much autonamy does he give Matt Ryan during the game?” In particularily when they’re not in the no huddle, and are the no-huddle series generally scripted?

Answer This

October 24th, 2012
11:08 am

Third like the Aints! Go birds!

Answer This

October 24th, 2012
11:10 am

Those are curious questions from an “Aint fan”……STB4 you still in the closet as a secret Falcon fan…..but we dont want you!

SeenThis B4

October 24th, 2012
11:21 am

Real Talk guys, I’m really worried about my horrible team known as the taints (TAINTS-because we cheat YOU KNOW) really hope the refs can throw us another game like they did against the Bucs and Chargers. Man I really wish Sean Peyton wasn’t suspended because if we gave him the football 100 touchdowns guaranteed! NEVER THE LESS YOU GUYS! This far I’ve SEEN the Dirty Birds go 6-0 wow they truly are dirty this year….Such an Unsurprising and dominating start to the season for every Aints fans myself included, (I know I know most confused fan base ever) we all know the division belongs to the FalcAns , but that will never undermine that as a true saints fans to bring up random facts of the past because WE LOVE AS A FAN BASE WE LOVE TO LIVE IN THE PAST! that’s how it be in the Orleans.


October 24th, 2012
12:03 pm

I’m excited about the Falcons this year. I see good things on both offense & defense, so it looks like we made smart moves with the new coordinators. I do think we were definitely weakened on special teams with the loss of Weems. But the main thing to remember is that not a single team we’ve beaten has a winning record. Even if we beat Philly, which is 3-3 at this point, we still won’t have beaten a winning team. Our running game has looked pathetic, and out LBs, who I thought were pretty stout, are in fact getting pushed around defending the run. I don’t want to ever again this season see an average sized RB knock one of our LBs out of a play. Ever again. I imagine Smitty doesn’t either. Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder a bit about our talent level at that position.


October 24th, 2012
12:19 pm

Whther Harry Douglas?


October 24th, 2012
12:41 pm

You say “the passers want to run more”… interesting..


October 24th, 2012
1:26 pm

I liken the Falcons this year to a prize fighter who is steadily moving up the ranks. He fights boxer that aren’t that good, but he finds a way to get a win. Now the Falcons take on the Eagles and I think they’ve had enough games under their belt to get a win against Philly. I believe they know competition is going to get tougher and they’ll be facing some pretty good quarterbacks.

Big Ben

October 24th, 2012
1:28 pm

Remember the Eagles are only 4 points away from being 0-6.


October 24th, 2012
1:55 pm

Ok, I’m confused. If this team has such a quality defense why did they just hire a new defensive coordinator?

Bill Bardamak

October 24th, 2012
1:58 pm

Hey… what’s up with the spelling errors in this article? A little sharper please

SIX and O Falcons

October 24th, 2012
2:07 pm

will be 7-0 after the Philly trip

and go Broncos, make the sAints 2-5.


October 24th, 2012
2:20 pm

I just hope we dont’ get caught up in the Eagles mystique/hype. Nobody else has. And they’ve looked very average as a result. We give them too much credit and are already mentally defeated b4 we play them.

Take their gifts – CAUSE THEY ARE COMING – and just play steady Falcon football. Limit the turnovers and this one’s in the bag.

True Falcon Fan

October 24th, 2012
2:25 pm

Nnambi “The Coach Killer” is the Eaglettes “MeAngelo” —- Nnambi/he is the weakest link CB….

Go Falcons —- Eaglettes next


October 24th, 2012
2:26 pm

STB4 since your all of a sudden into history here is a historical fact for ya. Atlanta currently leads the all-time series over the Aints 46-40 (45-40 regular season, 1-0 playoffs).


October 24th, 2012
2:31 pm

Whither Quizz Rodgers?

Dirty Bird

October 24th, 2012
2:34 pm

All I see is positives.

The Kitties will get stomped on by the Bears,
The Bucs should lose to the Vikings,
and Manning should beat those aints at home.

A win for us would be the cherry on top.

True Falcon Fan

October 24th, 2012
2:37 pm

If Trent Cole shows-up 100% we are in for a serious fight! MV — will cough-up the ball 2X2 = 2 fumbles + 2 int’s —- If our D gets a wrap on #25 McCoy = Falcons “WIN” BIG! Babs & Peters and of course Big John #55 Will make MV’s day miserable that’s given and expected!!!! Somebody please get a message to Big Ray Edwards “It’s Time SON”???? It really would be nice to see Big Ray get 4-5 sacks this Sunday!

Go Falcons —- I’m thinkin’ — bet the OVER —- probably 47-53 points will be scored in this game —- Falcons 37 — Eaglettes 14

Nub Nub

October 24th, 2012
2:56 pm


October 24th, 2012
3:09 pm

Nice to have a very competent O-Coordinator at the helm. He is very realistic about developing and utilizing his team. He has gambled a bit but is learning with this team, what will work and what won’t. This offense has so much fire power it is fun to watch. The O-Line is still the weak link but they are calling plays to compensate and things continue to improve… as long as they learn from their experience and make adjustments, I am fine with that. My favorite improvement on this team is their attitude about getting down the field and scoring when it is essential. I no longer feel it is hit or miss. I am starting to feel like the Manning fans, the Breez fans or the Farve fans. It isn’t just the QB (who is great), it is the winning attitude and overpowering effort from the whole team. It’s great to be a Falcons fan… GO FALCONS! YOU ARE RISING UP!


October 24th, 2012
3:46 pm

Hate to see a lack of respect from the national press. Vegas has the Eagles as a 2.5 pt favorite. Every major outlet predicted the Falcons to be strong this year while it now feels like they are dissappointed that we are undefeated. What gives?

What’s up with a conciliatory Seen This B4?

Reminder – Saints fans are turds


October 24th, 2012
4:05 pm

Easy cake walk win. Falcons 28 Eagles 10


October 24th, 2012
5:47 pm

Who moved the rock so STB4 could crawl out?

Michael M .

October 24th, 2012
6:52 pm

the wide 9 ?……………….hehehehe

Atlanta – 24 Eagles – 20

Sam Baker's back

October 24th, 2012
7:03 pm

I knew this day was coming…..just hope trent cole doesnt abuse me again…..and again…..and again…..and……again………………and………………again………..and……………………………again.


October 24th, 2012
10:58 pm

Man there making this game to be a superbowl for eagles !!! Its like do or die there saying.. win and make the playoffs otherwise coach and Vick might be toast… figures it would be the week we play them !! Wonderful !! We will get there best game thus far… so if we find away to show up.. we will win this game we are better team and better coached!! I dont see them take this lightly like the raiders!! Vick throws 1 interception and we sack him 4 times our def line finally will step up in this game !! Falcons 24-20 In another close finsh..

[...] definitely have not played our best football on offense yet,” Koetter told reporters recently. “We studied ourselves across the board in every situation. We need to get better [...]


October 25th, 2012
4:41 pm

People keep talking about how we havent beaten a team with a winning record. Well our next three games are against teams who are .500 or below. As it stands today Philly and Dallas are both 3-3 and the Aints are 2-4. Not our fault these teams arent any better, all that matters is that we keep getting better and we keep winning. Doesnt look like we will see a team with a winning records (Assuming the Cowboys lose to the Giants) until possibly the Arizona Cardinals who currently sit at 4-3, anything can happen with them between now and when we play them. Then we have the Bucs, Aints and Panthers and again. All will possibly have losing records. Once again not our fault, all we can do is play the teams in front of us.