Minutes after the Buccaneers agreed to replace Dirk Koetter with Bruce Arians, the recently fired coach will land in familiar territory.
The Falcons are bringing Koetter back as their offensive coordinator, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The team offered Koetter the job on Monday night. He will now be facing the Bucs twice a season.
Mike Mularkey, who joined Darrell Bevell in interviewing for this post, will come back to Atlanta as tight ends coach, the Falcons announced.
Atlanta’s OC from 2012-14, Koetter relocated when the Falcons switched from Mike Smith to Dan Quinn. Now, he’ll work for Quinn and be the top offensive voice in the Falcons’ building. Quinn will now serve as his own defensive coordinator, and Koetter will be tasked with revitalizing an offense that regressed under Steve Sarkisian.
Although Atlanta improved from Sarkisian’s first year to his second, finishing 2018 as the No. 10 scoring offense (after ranking 15th in 2017), the Falcons fired him. He did not live up to expectations, and the offense (as could be expected) regressed from its historic 2016 perch under Kyle Shanahan. Koetter oversaw a Bucs attack that ranked third in yards this season, although Todd Monken was Tampa Bay’s primary play-caller this season. The Bucs boasted a top-10 yardage attack (ninth) in 2017, with Koetter calling the plays, as well.
With the Falcons, Koetter oversaw a No. 1-seeded team’s explosive offense in 2012 and two less impressive attacks in 2013 and ’14. Matt Ryan praised Koetter recently and will get to work with the veteran schemer again soon. Koetter also oversaw Julio Jones‘ rise; now, he’ll be in charge of the back end of the future Hall of Famer’s prime.
Mularkey is a three-time head coach whose most recent work includes ending a near-decade-long Titans playoff drought. Tennessee, however, fired Mularkey after the 2017 divisional-round sojourn. He served as the Falcons’ OC from 2008-11, and that tenure included an Atlanta run to the NFC’s No. 1 seed. Koetter replaced Mularkey when the latter became the Jaguars’ HC. He was a one-and-done in that role, however.
Prior to ascending to the Titans’ HC post, he was their tight ends instructor. The former NFL tight end has coached this position for four teams dating back to 1994.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.