September 17, 2021

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Dirk Koetter’s High Octane Offense: 0 to nowhere in 6 quick games

3 min read

[Image Credit: Reinhold Matay, USA TODAY Sports]


Dirk’s final hurrah on Dale Mabry

No, this isn’t a Bucs article from last season that somehow found itself back on top in 2019. I will start this article off from Tampa, though, if you will so indulge me. In 2018, the Bucs got off to a fast start under Head Coach Dirk Koetter and his high octane offense coordinated by Todd Monken. Large numbers in yardage and touchdowns were being put up, and the Bucs led the NFL in passing all year. The outcome of that season was another 5-11 record, which lead to his being let go by Tampa at season’s end. Tampa was sixth in the league in percentage for passing versus running at 63.13% of the time.

A great season, and two failed ones

Fast forward to 2019, and Dirk is now again the offensive coordinator for the Falcons. He was also with the Falcons in the same capacity from 2012 to 2014. In that first year in Atlanta, the Falcons had Koetter’s very best season running his offense, going 13-3. That year they were 7th in the number of times they threw the ball; let’s just call it PTTT for the percentage of times they throw. It was 62.80% that year. During his next two seasons in Atlanta, the Falcons went 4-12 in 2013 with a PTTT of 68.65% of the time, which was good for first overall in the League. In 2014, the Falcons managed 6-10 with a PTTT of 64.06% of the time, which was good for third overall.

The Tampa Years

Then off to Tampa in 2015 he went, where under his offensive wizardry, under head coach Lovie Smith, the Bucs proceeded to go 6-10 with a PTTT of just 53.32% 24th overall. It appears that Head Coach Smith influenced the game plan as this was Koetter’s lowest PTTT of his career as an O.C. In 2016, Koetter was promoted to head coach and proceded to produce a 9-7 record with a PTTT of 57.50 again coming in at 24th overall. Then came the season of 2017, and Koetter goes wild, passing the ball again, producing a record of 5-11 with a PTTT of 62.32% and jumping to third overall. Twenty-fourth to third overall, wow, that’s a crazy jump. Then in his final season in Tampa, again going 5-11 and a PTTT of 63.13%, which was good for 6th overall.

Falcon’s 2019 season

Back to current times. After 6 games under O.C. Koetter, the Falcons are a deplorable 1-5 with a PTTT of 70.10%, which is second overall in the League. It’s easy to see that Koetter’s offensive scheme is pretty much throw, and then throw some more. The Falcons run the ball the 2nd least in the NFL this year, and they are playing below expectations. My point is: Wherever he has been minus his first successful year in Atlanta, the more he has passed the ball, and the worse things get. The more he runs it, the more he is successful. The Falcons resemble the Bucs of 2017-2018 in that the ball is flying almost every play, racking up big yardage, and catch numbers. But, the walls are falling in around them.

Statements, and predictions

I’m going to make a very bold statement here, Dirk’s Offense doesn’t work, folks. Shocked huh? At least not in the sense of bringing wins to the team he’s coaching. It piles up big numbers, and it’s very Fantasy Football friendly, but it’s a translation in winning in the real NFL that just doesn’t apply. I find it surprising that the Falcons ever hired him back. He only had one good season in Atlanta, and two lousy ones. I’m also going to boldly predict that the Falcons will find no success again, until Dirk Koetter is gone, away, history, No Más. Then and only then, can the Falcons rebuild, and do it the right way. The way the Bucs are in the process of doing, after showing Mr. Koetter the door. It appears that being able to run the ball is more important than some give it credit. The Bucs should probably try doing it a little more. Leaning on Jameis Winston to get it done, is a risky foray, as in that he will drive you crazy with his up and downplay.