A lot of talk has been held throughout the season on whether or not Atlanta should show the door to their offensive and defensive coordinators. Both Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan gave us stellar performances last year as first year guys with the Falcons, but this year has brought nothing but disappointment. I for one have defended them all year, but some games have had me down right dumbfounded. Without further ado, here is a breakdown of the past, present, and future of Mike and Dirk.
Dirk Koetter came to Atlanta regarded as someone who can bring a vertical passing attack to the Falcons offense. This was true, as Matt Ryan finished with career highs in yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, and quarterback rating. However, how much credit should be given to Koetter’s schemes, and not the development of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones? We all know Julio has been out for the majority of the year, but with an offense that showcases names such as Matt Ryan, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez, should we really miss that much of a beat? I think not.
Let’s take a look at today. The Atlanta Falcons defense forced 7 turnovers against the Washington Redskins. Of those 7 turnovers, the Falcons capitalized on 3 of them, scoring 17 points. While 17 points off of 3 turnovers looks nice on paper, it’s quite lackluster when you took it away from the opposition on 4 other occasions. Oh, and let me also remind you that the Redskins allow 31 points a game, which is the worst in the National Football League. Add all these factors up, and you get a coordinator not getting 100% out of his offense.
A dismal offensive line plays a huge part on what Dirk can call, so don’t be surprised to see Koetter stay in Atlanta for at least another season.
Mike Nolan came to the Falcons with a history off success in terms of defensive improvement. Nolan turned bottom feeders Miami and San Francisco into top 10 defenses, so an improvement upon Atlanta’s “soft” unit from 2011 was completely expected. With the help of Mike Nolan, the Falcons featured a defense that confused some of the leagues most revered quarterbacks. The “Wild-Dog Defense” had Drew Brees and Peyton Manning scratching their heads as they threw pick after pick. Even the reigning Super Bowl Champion Eli Manning couldn’t find an answer to the Falcons D, as the Giants went on to lose the game 34-0.
This season, the Falcons are experiencing a youth movement. Rookies and 2nd year guys alike have seen extensive action, with 1st round pick Desmond Trufant and undrafted free-agent Paul Worrilow emerging as pro-bowl talent. However, with a youth movement comes growing pains, as the Falcons allow the 28th most points in the league. Robert Alford, Joplo Bartu, and Zeke Motta are also rookies who have started at least one game this season. There is no where to go but up for this defense, and with a good draft this year, we may be looking at a
fearsome pretty good defense next year.
To sum it up, Mike Nolan will go no where, and I would love to see him sign a multi-year contract at the conclusion of the season.
How do you feel about the Falcons coordinators? Would you like to see them stay, or bring in a couple of fresh faces? Let us know in the comments below!