Atlanta Falcons: Koetter, Smith have had some playoff success together

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

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

FLOWERY BRANCH — In his first playoff game in the NFL, Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter helped Jacksonville post a monumental victory.

On the way to the AFC title game, Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith, helped the Jaguars post a 31-29 victory over Pittsburgh on Jan. 5, 2008.

Koetter was quick to note that with the victory the Jaguars became the first team to beat the Steelers at home twice in the same season.

Things went downhill for Jacksonville after that big win. They lost to Tom Brady and New England 31-20 on Jan. 12, 2008 and haven’t made it back to the playoffs. Smith would move on and become the Falcons’ head coach.

Koetter later followed, joining the staff last offseason. He’s now preparing for his third playoff game and hasn’t been a part of the Falcons’ recent playoff failures.

“This is what you play for,” Koetter said. “This is why you’re doing it, to still be playing this time of year.”

Koetter and the top-seeded Falcons (13-3) are set to face the Seattle Seahawks (12-5) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome. The winner advances to the NFC Championship game, one step from Super Bowl XLVII.

“Their whole narrative of who they are, perceptionally, it’s now at stake,” ESPN analyst Steve Young said. “There’s nothing that they can do from September to December that we even really paid much attention to. Go undefeated (and) ‘we are like, oh, that’s just great, but we want to see you in January.’ ”

Well, January is here.

The Falcons can vanquish their playoff woes with a victory. They can extinguish them with a Super Bowl run. They could establish some league-wide legitimacy by earning the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the field of their rival New Orleans Saints.

That would be an entirely new narrative for the long downtrodden franchise, one that has an overall record of 312-402-6 and 6-11 in the playoffs.

“This is a big, huge, big deal that cannot be underestimated, and I think you’ll see the effects of it with this team,” Young said. “They might be overwrought. It might backfire, but I think the odds are you’re going to see something that, I don’t know how you can describe it, but it’s going to be different.”

The Falcons were rather loose at practice Wednesday and Thursday.

The return of cornerback Asante Samuel from an absence after the death of his mother, Christine, has infused some additional enthusiasm.

Samuel enjoyed playoff success early in his career with New England and has two Super Bowl rings. He’s advised the team about what’s necessary for playoff success.

“You have to put aside your selfishness and individual goals because you want to win,” Samuel said. “You do whatever it takes to win. That’s the difference between teams that win and win the big games. Everybody has to have one common goal.”

Center Todd McClure is the only holdover from the last time the Falcons won a playoff game. As the No. 2 seed, they pummeled St. Louis 47-17 in the divisional round after the 2004 season. They would go on to lose to Philadelphia in the NFC title game.

“We want to get over that hump,” McClure said. “We have guys that are hungry who want to feel that success. I believe they are ready for it.”

While the Falcons acknowledge the recent postseason losses to Arizona, Green Bay and the New York Giants, they don’t plan to dwell on them.

“It’s a different season,” McClure said. “We have a different team. We are playing with a lot of confidence right now.”

Backup running back Jason Snelling, who suffered a broken jaw in last season’s playoff loss to the Giants, senses a different vibe this season.

“You learn from the past and about the things you can do better,” Snelling said. “The next opportunity is here, and we’ll be ready to roll.”

The Falcons clearly are pulling out all of the stops and working every angle imaginable to get a win.

“I expect (the fans) to be there a little early so that we can get the show rolling quick,” safety William Moore said. “We’re going to need them. It’s going to be a big environment. We have a great team coming into the dome. Every little (thing) we can use, we need it.”




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41 comments Add your comment

Elvis is Alive

January 10th, 2013
10:15 pm

THE FALCNS WILL WIN THIS GAME

Elvis is Alive

January 10th, 2013
10:17 pm

THE FALCONS WILL WIN THIS GAME! Keyboard gettin’funky!

Elvis is Alive

January 10th, 2013
10:36 pm

Someone once said,”Don’t ever bet on the outcome of any game that involves a ball, way too unpredictable! Horses, cards and the slots are OK.
None of us know how the ball will bounce, but I feel our coaches know how to defend against scrambling QB”s and a strong runner (who has a rib problem-Ouch).
The critics are in the thousands and wildly assuming the FALCONS past will forecast the future.
We might as well ask the Magic 8-Ball for the answer. Not the Magic City wenches.
MY observation is that the team will be ready to play and confident in their abilities to smack the SEA-CHICKS n the mouth dozens of times.
Past performance does not indicate any outcome when chance comes into play.
Believe you can win..say it loud..yell it at practice..WE WILL WIN THIS GAME say it again and then a third time…power of positive thinking.
It’s NOW or NEXT YEAR..FALCONS..No excuses..no coulda, shoulda, woulda, if, only or because!
Rise Up..Angry Birds..Rise Up..

falconsrus

January 10th, 2013
10:42 pm

Willey Mo says come out swinging I say Y’all beat the brakes off of the c hocs

[...] title game, Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith, helped the Jaguars post a 31-29 Source: Atlanta Falcons – D. Orlando Ledbetter AJC Blog Share this: atlanta falcons football, atlanta falcons news, falcons football news, falcons news [...]

LOL at the Aints

January 10th, 2013
11:39 pm

I agree with Elvis,

Samuel

January 11th, 2013
4:59 am

You want to see the Falcons win this game as a fan. But some people thrive on negativity and feed into their playoff loses. I don’t want this team to be emotionally spent, if they come out with a victory. There’s still always the next game. Can we say the Niner’s or Packers.

The Real Falcon

January 11th, 2013
6:55 am

I will be at the tailgate early Sunday. Everyone get inside early!
Make some noise and RISE UP!

The Real Falcon

January 11th, 2013
6:57 am

Worrying about a game after this one will get you beaten this week.
Focus people!

The 12th Falcon

January 11th, 2013
8:59 am

FALCONS 34

Seahawks O

jab73

January 11th, 2013
9:00 am

If the falcons win the next three games then suddenly they would be 3 & 3 in playoffs with a ring…

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
9:58 am

Our Hearts & Prayers go out for Asante for the loss of his Mother; We’ll be pullin’ for you more than ever through this loss Asante; You’ve brought heart & soul to the Atl, to the defense, to this team, to this city Asante, she’ll be watch’n. I know you’re emotions & adrenaline thru this will be beyond this. May the Atl Nation be 71000 strong behind you & the team this coming sunday. We want this! The City wants this! Lets Take This ATL! Play in the trenches for each other fellas, Lets get ‘em!

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
10:08 am

Come on in c-hocs we want ya, we’re on a mission, The falcons are on mission, stronger than ever, cause we have resolve, & we ain’t stopp’n til we see it through. We ain’t vanilla on this, you’ll see a bull ready to ram right for ya. We’ll bring on the smashmouth, southern smackdown, c’mon to the dome, we want cha’.

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
10:12 am

All the Atl Blogger’s remember asante in the loss of his mother, ya’ll keep gett’n psyched up! we want this.

Mee Too

January 11th, 2013
10:35 am

Still Gritz: Stop lying to everyone, including yourself. You are the last one to be careing about Asante.” Our hearts & prayers go out”… Pleeeease…

Uncle Bob

January 11th, 2013
10:37 am

Did anyonenotice that Mularkey got fired today @Jax? Thought that was coming..

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
10:47 am

Falcons; Stay Hungry!, Stay Unsatisfied!, See the Mission through!; Stay strong Focused! Stay Empowered! Stay on for each other! Fight for each other! Sunday Will Belong To You, Mr. Blank is Hungry! All the ATL’s Hungry! We’re coming out strong! Get’em! We want’em!

Fan since 66

January 11th, 2013
10:51 am

I admit I wasn’t completely on board with the Samuel signing…(after all, he was a “Hated Eagle”!), but I watched his play and demeanor this year with the Falcons and admit I was wrong. He seems to be a very good player, and a very good person. I DO know that he has helped our defense mature this year under the tutelage of our new DC. I feel for his loss…if you don’t there’s something wrong with you, anytime someone looses their mother it’s terrible.
As for the success of the Koetter/Smith duo, I believe we are seeing the beginning of a long, successful relationship. I just know I believe more in the defense this year than I ever have in my years of being a fan. They play with more enthusiasm and swagger than I’ve ever noticed. Something in my bones tells me this might be the year! We’ll know quite a bit more about this team come late Sunday afternoon. I, for one, believe it will be good news!
Go Falcons!!

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
10:53 am

The guy just lost his Mother man, hear ya go again,”seen”, oh you’re word’s are ruthless mee too, Dang! Aren’t you somethin’? Wow! what words bud, what words.

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
11:01 am

Fan since 66; You’ve been with ‘em through thick n’thin, I’m psyched up man, Coach Koetter hasn’t used different offensive packages in quite awhile. The redn’black are birds of a different breed this year. The schemes are fresh man.

I usually just read but...

January 11th, 2013
11:13 am

@Fan since 66 I was the same way about Samuel. I was wrong. Not my first time being wrong. Actually, I thought I was wrong once before and later found out I was right all along. I not gonna be wrong about the Falcons opening up a 55 gal drum of industral strength whup a$$ and smearing it all over the Seahawks.

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
11:34 am

Iujrb; You above, sorry for the abbreviation; I’m right w/ ya, & I love throw’n some of the 55 gal. of that industrial strength all over the seagull/c-hocs. & have some more ready the rest away. We got a mountain of pay back were on mission for, Rac ‘em up ATL!

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
11:41 am

Witherspoon,Nicholas,Babineaux,Moore,Samuel,Predator, AAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!! All Psyched Up! For the redn’black! to prevail Baby!!!!! Who’s Fired Up? C’mon man, Who’s Fired UP?

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
11:49 am

That’s just the defense side; Now JulioJJ;RoddyRod-man;Tony G; Jaquezz; Ryan; Turner(savin’it to bust lose sunday)HD;Cox;Da’ line…..AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!All Psyched Up! For ya’ll Tooo GEEETT ITTTTT!!!!!!!!!! Open up that 55 gal. on dem seagulls baby, this feels Good!!!!! Everyone else already declared them superbowl champs. Let’s get some!!!

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
11:51 am

Coach Koetter; Coach Nolan; scheme it up; make there heads spin.

Larry

January 11th, 2013
12:12 pm

atlanta radio guy says the 12th man will come and go !!talking bad about us when they still have 6,000 tickets still available GREAT FANS ATLANTA!!! what a joke we will pound you and move on!! EASY TOO!! and one of your fans would sell his ticket if the price is right ROFLMAO atlanta dont know what fans are THE 12TH MAN WILL RISE AND CRUSH YOU you !! 6,000 tickets what a joke!! try to find a open seat at ANY SEAHAWKS GAME NOT we are real fans!!! DONT WORRY, YOU GUYS HAVE MATTY CHOKE ON ICE RYAN LOL GO HAWKS

Enkinan

January 11th, 2013
12:17 pm

I’m very excited to see these new coordinators put it all out there, the difference between last year is night and day. This city has suffered through enough playoff misery across all of our teams.

NOW IS THE TIME ATLANTA, IT’S RISE UP TIME.

Enkinan

January 11th, 2013
12:19 pm

Hey Larry, you are an idiot. The game is sold out. The fans don’t control people who are trying to make a buck.

Good luck next year.

Larry

January 11th, 2013
12:23 pm

after reading your posts atlanta fans i have come to this conclusion that not one of you know much about this game LOL especially still gritz blitz you ramble about nothing not very educated in this great game you guys have no clue what a fan is they are showing your dirty town on tv and where is all the atlanta stuff? or did you forget its football season its ok baseball is just around the corner for you!!!! so get ready cause your football season is about over!!!! are corner backs and defense is going to pop you right in the face right out the gate and the offense will roll over you your season is over!!!! 6,000 tickets still open for a division playoff game !!! what a joke GREAT FANS BLAHHHH

Larry

January 11th, 2013
12:25 pm

Hey Enkinan your a idiot there is 6000 tickets still for sale!!! Lol seattle is eating them up as we speak you donkey!!!!

ATL/UGA #1 fan

January 11th, 2013
12:27 pm

McClure ….the time has come my friend…you keep our O line fired up for the next three WINS! GO FACLCONS! RISE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Larry

January 11th, 2013
12:43 pm

Hey Enkinan ticket master has tickets at every price range!!!! you idiot stop talking and go get your ticket for the game!!! GO HAWKS

This Gets Old

January 11th, 2013
2:00 pm

Since you block me anyway I feel very comfortable telling you the truth. Didn’t Dungy’s Colts have problems climbing this same mountain? Weren’t they blitzed in the Meadowlands by the Jets 41-0? Jags vs. Pats in the playoff game…didn’t the Jags have multiple leads in that game?

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
2:06 pm

Larry; Take you’re bottom lip,(stretches far enough huh?) pull it over you’re head & swallow Dude, cause man you’re noth’n but a Blaaahhh com’n on this blog. C’mon Larry! C’mon man! full of pooh vomit is all you dish’n out. Go swallow yourself dude, weak! Talkin’ about education? Dang!!

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
2:09 pm

MUST BE HIRAM SAINT, pretend’n again, that’s ok buddy, we’re use to ya.

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
2:14 pm

Hey, man, more fuel for the fire baby that’s all.

Ladies and gentlement, Wrestling Two!

January 11th, 2013
2:44 pm

To Asante: The city extends their affections in your loss. I think we’ve all been “there” in one form or another so the empathy is there. Use it like Brett Farve did when he lost his dad on a Monday night game the day before and, like him, play the best game of your career and feel her smiling down. Defeat IS NOT AN OPTION FOR YOU, THE TEAM, OR US, THE FANS.

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
3:52 pm

@Ladies and gentlement, Wrestling Two; Good read, same sentiments, Mr. Wrestler #2 was one of my favorites when I was a kid.

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
4:01 pm

Hey Enkinan; The dude had to change his diaper, you must’ve struck a nerve, bless his heart, 6000 seagulls, if they were, they got spiked by Atl scalpers. The 6000 was taken care of by real fans ATL nation. We’re ok here, he had to come on here try’n to stir things up on a Falcon Blog, cause they kicked him off or Banned from a seagull blog. Mabey he likes it over here better cause we have more life here than a Seattle blog.

Still Gritz Blitz'n

January 11th, 2013
4:07 pm

Thanks for cheering on our basketball team, they need all the support they can get.Lol.

Archie : The Latest Fuzz

January 14th, 2013
5:41 pm

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