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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Nov 14, 2012 - 2:30 pm

Atlanta Falcons offense thriving under Dirk Koetter

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) pulls in a pass over New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer (33) in the second half of an NFL football game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. The Saints won 31-27. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter's time at Arizona State won't be remembered as a golden era of Sun Devil football.

Koetter was the head coach in Tempe from 2001 to 2006 and finished with a career record of 40-34. He was under .500 in conference play at 21-28, and the most wins the Sun Devils had in a single season during his tenure was nine.

His first season as the architect of the Atlanta offense has gone significantly better.

"A lot of the offense has stayed the same," said Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan. "I think that's one of the things that's helped us. Dirk came in and changed a lot of his terminology to the terminology we've had. I think that's helped everyone in the transition."

Adjusting to your personnel instead of being stubborn and sticking with what you know is an underrated part of good coaching. The goal is to get the most out of the players even if it means leaving your comfort zone.

Just because the terminology has remained the same doesn't mean Koetter hasn't made any changes to the Falcons' offense. Last season, under offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, Atlanta averaged 25 points per game. Under Koetter that number has jumped up to 27 points per game through nine contests.

"I think he has brought some different elements to our offense," continued Ryan. "He's done a great job with the vertical passing and also helped us in terms of screens."

The Falcons passing offense has improved from 262 yards per game last season to 292 yards this year. Atlanta has also increased its yards per attempt, from 7.3 to 7.9.

Koetter won't truly be judged until we see if the Falcons' offensive success in the regular season carries over to the playoffs. With Matt Ryan at the helm in three playoff games, Atlanta's offense has averaged under 12 points.

If he is able to help the Falcons advance in the playoffs, maybe Dirk Koetter will get another shot at being a head coach. Except this time, it won't be at the college level.

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