UPDATE: Dirk Koetter is staying with the Falcons

Mike Nolan, Mike Smith and Dirk Koetter (Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com)

Mike Nolan, Mike Smith and Dirk Koetter (Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com)

UPDATE: Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has withdrawn his name for consideration for any head coaching vacancies, the team confirmed on Wednesday.

Koetter has signed a contract extension that runs through 2014, according to a Fox Sports report.

Koetter infused new life in the Falcons offense, scrapping the power-run attack for a more pass-friendly attack.

The Falcons finished with two 1,000-yard receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones, as quarterback Matt Ryan put up several career-highs.

White finished the season with 92 receptions for 1,351 yards and seven touchdowns. He has posted 1,300-plus yards in two of the last three seasons. Jones, who as selected to his first Pro Bowl,  finished with 79 catches for 1,198 yards and a team-high 10 touchdown receptions.

Also, 13-time Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez caught a team-high 93 receptions for 930 yards with eight touchdowns. Gonzalez posted the best season by any tight end in Falcons history. His receptions and yardage total both set franchise records for the tight end position.

In Koetter’s offense,  Gonzalez had his best season since 2008 in terms of catches, yards, and touchdowns.

The attack also allowed Ryan to flourish as a passer. Ryan finished the season completing 422 of 615 pass attempts (68.9 percent) for 4,719 yards with 32 touchdowns and a 99.1 passer rating. Ryan set franchise records for attempts, completions, completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns.

TUESDAY UPDATE: Jacksonville has interviewed Atlanta’s director or player personnel David Caldwell for their vacant general manager’s post, according to a Fox Sports report.

Coordinators Mike Nolan, Dirk Koetter and Keith Armstrong are set to interview with the Eagles here in Atlanta on Wednesday according to 6ABC (WPVI-TV) in Philadelphia.

ORIGNAL POST: With the Falcons recent success, teams have raided the coaching staff and front offices when trying to get things turned arounnd.

After the 2010 season, Minnesota hired Bill Musgrave away as their offensive coordinator. He was Matt Ryan’s first NFL quarterback coach and is widely credited with his quick development.

Last season, the Rams hired Les Snead away to become their general manager and Jacksonville hired Mike Mularkey and Bob Bratkowski. Mularkey went to Jacksonville as the head coach and Bratkowski, Musgrave’s successor, went as the offensive coordinator.

According to several media reports, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is set to interview for heading coaching vacancies in Kansas City, Philadelphia and Cleveland.

Special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong is set to interview for the heading coaching positions with Kansas City and Chicago.

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who was previously a head coach, will most certainly attract some attention with 20 percent of the league’s head coaching spots coming open on Black Monday.

“Per league rules, this is the window for teams that have a bye week where assistant coaches can interview,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I will say this, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment on any other team’s head coaching search. I feel like that we’ve got a number of guys on our staff that would be outstanding head coaches and per league rules if someone called and asked permission we would grant it because we’d have to.”

Also, David Caldwell, the team’s director of player personnel, is considered a candidate for several of the league open general manager positions.


Finishing regular season ‘the right way’

Ryan, Gonzalez, Jones voted to Pro Bowl

Matt Ryan named NFC offensive player of week

Matt Ryan Q-and-A

Safety William Moore to miss fourth straight game

Falcons wait for playoff picture to clear

Pro Bowl teams announced Wednesday

If playoffs started today

Joe Hawley added to active roster

‘Different team’ vows to end playoff flops

Plan is to ‘play to win’ regular-season finale

Playoff tickets on sale Thursday

Matt Ryan leads victory over Lions for NFC’s top seed

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87 comments Add your comment


December 31st, 2012
7:20 pm

the eagles are after nolan too

A Favorite

December 31st, 2012
7:23 pm

Always good to know we have folks other teams need. Good luck to those who are taken and let’s win a playoff game before you leave.


December 31st, 2012
7:23 pm

with all of our coaches interviewing for new jobs how will they have time to focus on our playoff run? it seemed like mularkey was not even interested in our last game. he had jacksonville on his mind, now with all 3 assistants busy what do we do?

A Favorite

December 31st, 2012
7:25 pm

If Nolan leaves get Lovie Smith as DC


December 31st, 2012
7:25 pm

Everybody can leave but Nolan. Got to keep Nolan. Come-on Blank, get out that checkbook.


December 31st, 2012
7:30 pm

Hey coach Smith if you have any open coaching positions in the future, I am available ASAP!


December 31st, 2012
7:44 pm

Great idea if Coach Nolan leaves go after Lovie for dc. Also if Coach Koetter leaves try to get Norv Turner. We have a good owner( besides the fact that he wants PSL for the new stadium) he will replace them.

A Favorite

December 31st, 2012
7:55 pm

I like it miked. Norv Turner will make a great OC and would change the culture of our run, block, pass, catch game for the better. Lovie Smith as DC would make our D meaner and our guys would finally learn to rap up a runner and tackle instead of just throwing a body at the runner.


December 31st, 2012
7:56 pm

with other teams snatching up all the best options while we’re still playing games there might not be very many options left for us whisenhunt for oc would be awesome but he’ll be gone quick same as smith for dc


December 31st, 2012
8:30 pm

You can kiss this staff goodbye. 8-9 HC jobs opens along with a merry go round of 80 or so assit jobs opening. Same guys, just moving around, improving on their money. Where in the hell will they find all those new Head coach’s. It’s just a redo of past fired guys.

1 and Done

December 31st, 2012
8:41 pm

Who’s going to replace Smith?


December 31st, 2012
8:53 pm

aints none and done. they should replace the whole team.


December 31st, 2012
9:34 pm

@1 and Done LMAO!!!!!!! Good question. But serously…if Smitty chokes again, what do we do?


December 31st, 2012
9:53 pm

If Smitty doesn’t win next week?

We…..stay the course, re-assess, draft better and try again next year.

Great organizations are patient. We’ll get to the mountaintop. Smitty improves every single year.

Just think of PIT. More championships than any NFL franchise, and have had only 3 coaches in 40 years. That’s the model we should be aiming for.

1 and Done

December 31st, 2012
10:18 pm


If the only coach to lead the team to the superbowl, the first coach to beat Green Bay at Lambeau in the playoffs, and the last coach to win a playoff game, were both fired after way fewer chances than Smitty, then I don’t know what to tell you.

1 and Done

December 31st, 2012
10:20 pm


Is that staying the course for 7, 10 or 15 years?

Mr. Riley

December 31st, 2012
11:43 pm

It seems so weird all these teams raiding our coffer and we have yet to when a superbowl…crap, atleast let us get one lombardy trophy before people start raiding the coaching staff…

Mora less Petrino

January 1st, 2013
12:17 am

All this coach talk makes me think of Petrino, Kiffin, and Mora. One way or another, all three of them kind of petered out in 2012!

Port City

January 1st, 2013
2:21 am

If Nolan is taken, the Falcons take a huge step back. Nolan has turned this sorry defense around with what little talent we have. I don’t know if another DC (including Lovie) will know how to use the existing defensive players on this roster. It’s the system that Nolan runs that make use of the players that we do have. This will be a major blow. You can what you want. I accredit the defense this year for all the interceptions and turn overs that help keep the offense in the game while they were playing poorly. The defense won a lot of these games.

Dr. Warren

January 1st, 2013
5:55 am

Nolan is not going anywhere. He didn’t cut it in San Francisco, despite his coat and tie. He’s a great defensive mind, and sometimes, a specialist should remain a specialist rather than trying to be the general. Being the head coach requires a diverse set of management skills and talents that he just doesn’t have.

Son Of Bart

January 1st, 2013
7:05 am

Reminds me of another assistant coach that was good at that, but lacks what it takes to win a Super Bowl. I won’t mention any names, but his initials are M. S.


January 1st, 2013
7:14 am

Mr. Ledbetter

Why is it your blog filter permits imbecilically negative comments toward our coach and team while intercepting non violent, non threatening, non vulgar reactions to the contrary like the two I just tried to post?

I will stop reading or participating in your work if this isn’t addressed.



January 1st, 2013
7:31 am

If Koetter, or Nolan happen to get hire,I think there’s enough talent around the leaque to fill their positions. Also I think both guys are professionals and they can game plan even under a slight distraction.

Falcon James

January 1st, 2013
9:35 am

Its hard to believe that anyone would suggest releasing one of the most successful coaches in Falcon history. The idea is absolutely absurd. Coaches are part of winning games, but ultimately, the win falls on the players.


January 1st, 2013
9:42 am

A. BLANK. do everything in your power to keep this staff of coaches around this is a bottle of wine that may get fine with time.

Never First, Just the Best.

January 1st, 2013
10:02 am

I heard BO BO is being looked at for Atlanta’s OF cord.

falcons relax

January 1st, 2013
10:15 am

You will always have the bottom feeding unintelligent falcon fans who believe that firing smitty is a good idea. Consistent foundation is the name of the game. Everybody forgets that it took peyton manning 6 years to win a playoff game. Better yet, it took peyton and Dungy 9 years to win the Super Bowl. SMitty has only been here for 5 seasons and hes the best HC in falcons history. Oh yeah, lets fire him if we lose another playoff game. Food for thought, theres a good 24 other teams in this league who would trade places with us in a heartbeat. Head Coaching wise and also Front Office wise. Just ask our divisional rivals. LOL!

Wheres the bucs after getting a new HC, good FA and good draft? Wheres Carolina after drafting one of the most gifted QBs in NFL History huh? Bottom line is we win PERIOD and thats the first thing you have to do consistently to aspire to winning a championship. Bill Cowher lost a SB with the steelers before he finally won it. REPEAT: BILL COWHER ACTUALLY LOST A SUPERBOWL FIRST BEFORE HE FINALLY WON IT.

The only person I would be worried about is nolan. Mike Nolan is top 5 d-coordinator. Blank and TD need to keep him here. EVerybody else I’m sure that TD and SMitty will play it like everything else, NEXT MAN UP. Other franchises wanting to grab every coach and FO worker is a healthy conflict. Lets us falcons know that we’ve finally turned the curb on being a consistent franchise THAT WINS, unlike them.


January 1st, 2013
10:23 am

Bye Larry, been nice knowing you. Like a guy who sticks to his word.


January 1st, 2013
10:32 am

Other than Caldwell, all the NFL is doing is recycling failed head coaches. Come one, Nolan couldn’t win with all that talent that San Fran had when the NFC West Stunk! He had 6 easy games a year on the schedule and the best he could finish is third in the West! Dirk made Arizona State and After thought we he finally got his recruits in! Caldwell??? I mean come on our special teams are average at best…nothing special and thus why is he getting a job!!!

[...] addition to offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, the Philadelphia Eagles are interviewing special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan for their open head [...]

1 and Done

January 1st, 2013
10:33 am

Port City

No way will Lovie come here to be Mike Smith’s coordinator. Smitty may be on his way out after the 1st round.

Brain Cells

January 1st, 2013
10:40 am

I really don’t get the loyalty most fans continue to give Smith.
Are you guys content in just making it to the playoffs and losing
in the 1st round? Mora got fired and he won a playoff game. Reeves got fired even though he took the team to the superbowl. Strange fans.


January 1st, 2013
10:53 am

1 and Done…does that validate your football knowledge if the Falcons go one and done? Any team can be one and done! Especially a team that has a poor pass rush! I love talking to idiots like you because you will say I told you so no matter what. If they lose next week, or in the NFC Championship or the Super Bowl, you losers like you will say “I Told you so!” You are the same people that said the Falcons wouldn’t be 500 this year! You are the same people that said wait till the Giants get here! Hater go get a life because we love our team no matter what you recliner analysts say!

Old Man Peabody

January 1st, 2013
11:09 am

How do you guys know how Nolan will do as a head coach 2nd time around. Belichick and Pete Carroll din’t look all the good their first time around either, but they look really good now. Nolan wants to be a head coach period, he said it when he went to MIA as DC, so you better enjoy him while you can because he will be a head coach again and really soon.


January 1st, 2013
11:17 am

The problem with being successful!!!!


January 1st, 2013
11:37 am

I just don’t understand why everyone thinks this coaching staff is so special. Sure they the Falcons had the best record in the league but I bet they will be one and done in the playtoffs. Ryan still plays with that deer in the head light look and why in the life of me they didn’t try harder to win their last game. They go in the playoffs now with a 2 week lay off with just knowing they lost their last game. With the talent the Falcons have on offense they should score a lot more points than they do. The defense can’t stop anybody as seen this past Sunday playiny Tampa Bay and it just seems to me that this team is just missing something. If they don’t win in the play offs maybe Smith and The GM should go. I love the Falcons but this past Sunday they looked like a High School team on the field.


January 1st, 2013
12:01 pm

What’s the purpose of signing an employment contract if no one honors or enforces it??

NFL head coaches are a dime a dozen and only as good as their last win

A joke year after year.

Falcon Fan

January 1st, 2013
12:32 pm

Do other teams allow their coaches to interview while still in the playoffs? I know its a league rule, but I am sure that teams can still deny this can’t they? There is plenty of time AFTER the games are over for interviews….right now, concentrate on the playoffs!

[...] it’s appropriate for me to comment on any other team’s head coaching search. I feel like that we’ve got a number of guys on our staff that would be outstanding head coaches and per league rules if someone called and [...]


January 1st, 2013
2:01 pm

Koetter leaving will not be a problem. I still believe Mike Smith controls/limits what he can do anyway and late in games or critical moments basically controlls playcalling.
Nolan on the other hand would be critical loss that the Falcons wouldnt find an answer to.
I like Smitty and he is a descent coach that provides stabiliy and class. he is NOT though a great coach and the way he handles the team is timid and conservative.
To the poster above comparing him the BILL COWHER is crazy and though even saying how Dungey lost superbowls etc and then won them is invalid. How many coaches lost several years and DIDINT go to/win a superbowl?
I hope im wrong and again, I like mike Smith and hope the falcons win the Superbowl(and they may), but it wont be ecause of Mike Smith, but despite him.

Sis-Boom-Bah Humbug

January 1st, 2013
2:37 pm

Regarding the possible departure of current members of the Falcons’ coaching staff, is there a way instead to foist Mike Smith on some other team? On paper, he does have an impressive won-loss record, and his “process” is a continuing source of amazement!

And to sweeten the deal, throw in Michael “Michelin Man” Turner – some team might want to use him as a nose tackle. He is good a clogging up the middle of the line, and excels at stops behind the line of scrimmage.

Otherwise, the potential loss of any of the current coordinators, coupled with next year’s formidable schedule, could make the 2013 season a disaster. Hopefully, the playoffs will not start the year out that way.


January 1st, 2013
4:09 pm

Why so many negative thoughts? C’mon Falcons fans, enjoy what we have now and support the team. We need to feed the Falcons team positive thougths now that we are getting closer to the biggest game. Let’s go to the Georgia Dome and cheer for the team. That is all.


January 1st, 2013
6:04 pm

@Violet – Atlanta fans have always been a negative group. Much of it comes from disappointments of teams past. Until the Falcons finally break through and win the Super Bowl you’ll have people here that would condemn the hiring of a resurrected Vince Lombardi. It’s just who they are.

Big Crimson 75

January 1st, 2013
6:11 pm

Dirk is likely gone.
Don’t laugh, Norv Turner is a great choice as OC if that happens.
Dirk’s resume doesn’t even compare with Turner’s.


January 1st, 2013
7:02 pm

We should get draft picks for coaches!!


January 1st, 2013
7:08 pm

For all you fellow Falcons fans who are going to be at the GA Dome for the divisional round…BE LOUD!!!!! we will win if the dome is rocking. do whatever it takes to make as much noise as possible!!!! We need to do our part as fans! I can’t stress the importance of making noise at the Dome.

Help spread the word! #RiseUp #It’sTime


January 1st, 2013
7:12 pm

Well, we can look at it this way: hope our offensive and defensive coordinators stay with us for one more year…….since just about every year about a half dozen coaches get fired….and who knows, maybe one of them could step in and take Smiths place if we are one and done again this year!

Jay Dubu

January 2nd, 2013
3:56 am

D. Led,

Why are the Falcons allowing them interviews while the season is still ongoing? Isn’t it customary to wait until a team has been eliminated from the playoffs?


January 2nd, 2013
7:11 am

Why not some team looking for ahead coach give falcons two first round picks for MIke Smith. Bucs gave Raiders two first round picks for Gruden. Then give Mike Nolan falcons head coaching job.
Reason this will not be done because Smith is a joke for ahead coach. he holds falcons back. he limited what the OC and DC does. They get blamed as MM and BVG did. Now he is doing same with Mike Nolan and DK.
It would not be a suprise too me to see Mike Nolan leave after one and done comes. He is too good of coach . He will not stay with Mike Smith !!!


January 2nd, 2013
8:37 am

Wow, three coaches from the Falcons are being interviewed for head coach openings around the league, including in Philadelphia. Has that ever happened before? What could be causing that? Winning? I mean, who cares about winning in the regular season, right?
Does anybody really think that Lovie Smith and Andy Reid won’t have head coaching jobs next year if they want them? Neither has won a Superbowl. But they have won playoff games and that’s what matters, right?
Yeah, and if the Falcons lose in the first round of the playoffs and cut Smith loose, who would want him? In four years with the Atlanta Falcons, he’s never had a losing regular season, but no playoff wins. A 56-24 record sounds good, but doesn’t really pass the sniff test, you know? Went to playoffs 4 out of 5 seasons, twice as a number one seed, who would be impressed with that? No team or city would want a coach with .883 home winning percentage, would they? I mean, if he didn’t focus so much on winning every home game, he probably could win a playoff game every once in a while, but nooOOooo…