5 questions with Falcons OC Dirk Koetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter addressed some of the issues facing the offense this offseason on Wednesday after the team’s OTA seassion.

Here’s what Koetter had to say:

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throwing a pass at OTAs on Wednesday. (By Kent Johnson/KJohnson@ajc.com)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throwing a pass at OTAs on Wednesday. (By Kent Johnson/KJohnson@ajc.com)

Q: How will you all improve the rushing attack?

A: We have to run the ball better than we did last year. Atlanta, since coach (Mike) Smith has been here, has always been a good running team except for last year. There were a lot of reasons for that. We don’t need to go into that now. That’s in the past. We are going to be a better running football team, starting with the offensive line and progressing throughout the team.

Q: What do you and Matt Ryan have to continue to work on?

A: Just communications. Matt knows that he can say what’s on his mind. I’ll listen to him. By the same token, he’ll listen to me. From a communication standpoint, it’s a really good situation.

Q: How does the revamped right side of the offensive line look?

A: They looked good. It’s a good blend of experience in Jon (Asamoah), who knows what’s ahead and knows what to expect from the program and then Jake is just such an advanced guy for somebody coming out of college. Obviously, with his pedigree, it’s a good mix. They are off to a good start together, learning the playbook together. I think those two and the improvements across our (offensive) line are going to be very helpful. Joe (Hawley) is a great communicator. We’ve got some good battles on the offensive line. I’m excited to see how it shakes out. We’ll end up keeping eight or nine guys.”

Q: How’s Mickey Shuler doing?

A: The tight end thing with Tony gone, I think there is competition between Levine (Toilolo), Bear Pascoe and Mickey Schuler. Those guys are going to be battling for playing time. . . we’ve got a long ways to go with OTAs, training camp and preseason and by the time we get to the season, I’m sure that it will shake itself out.

Q: How has the role of the tight evolved in the NFL?

A: I think what you are seeing, in the NFL right now, you’ve got your true pass-catching tight ends, the Tony Gonzalezes and Jimmy Grahams. Then you’ve got another group of tight ends, who are kind of jacks of all trades. Part blockers, part receivers, part offensive lineman and part running back. They do part pass protecting, too.


–Today – OTA No. 3.

–Friday – Strength and Conditioning plus a rookie practice

–Monday– OTA No. 4.

–Tuesday, June 3 – OTA No. 5.

–Wednesday, June 4 – OTA No. 6.

–Thursday, June 5 – Rookie Practice.

–Monday, June 9 – Hacks vs. Jocks golf tournament. Defending champs – Team Scelfo.

–Tuesday, June 10 – OTA No. 7.

–Wednesday, June 11 – OTA No. 8.

–Thursday, June 12 – OTA No. 9.

–Friday, June 13 – OTA No. 10.

–Monday, June 16 – Physicals.

–Tuesday, June 17 — Day One: Mandatory minicamp (5 practices over three days)

–Wednesday, June 18 – Day Two: Mandatory minicamp.

–Thursday, June 19 – Day Three: Mandatory minicamp. (Offseason program ends for veterans).

TBA – Rookie Symposium

TBA – (Late July) – Report to Training camp.


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Round 1 / 6 — Jake Matthews, RT, 6-5, 308, Texas A&M

Round 2/37 – Ra’Shede Hageman, DE, 6-6, Minnesota

Round 3/68 – Dezmen Southward, FS, 6-0, 211, Wisconsin

Round 4/103 – Devonta Freeman, RB, 5-8, 206, Florida State

Round 4/139 – Prince Shembo, LB, 6-1, 253 Notre Dame

Round 5/147 – Ricardo Allen, CB, 5-9, 187, Purdue

Round 5/168 – Marquis Spruill, LB, 6-1, 231, Syracuse

Round 7/253 – Yawin Smallwood, LB, 6-2, 246, Connecticut

Round 7/255 – Tyler Starr, LB, 6-4, 250, South Dakota


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