2018 ScheduleAll times ET

2018 Schedule
7-9, 2nd in NFC South

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons TE Austin Hooper to me on being named to the Pro Bowl, replacing Zach Ertz: ``It's a huge honor that not a lot of people get to be a part of. Just looking forward to the opportunity. It just solidifies the hard work that I've put in has paid off in a big way. I'm very fortunate.''

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Dan Quinn on reported incident involving DE Takk McKinley: “We were recently made aware of the situation involving Takk in Los Angeles earlier today. Any time a situation occurs that is or could be related to mental health issues we take it very seriously. We will do everything we possibly can to support and assist Takk as our players' mental and physical well-being are always our top priority.'' The Los Angeles Police Department did not confirm or give details about McKinley reportedly being detained and having a mental evaluation, per privacy laws, when reached by ESPN.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons tight end Austin Hooper headed to his first Pro Bowl as a replacement for Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. Hooper had a breakout season with 71 catches for 660 yards and four touchdowns. Those 71 receptions ranked fourth among all tight ends in the league behind Ertz (116), Travis Kelce (103), and George Kittle (88). Both WR Julio Jones and C Alex Mack wee named to Pro Bowl for Falcons but Jones already pulled out due to injury.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

A former Washington Redskin on new Falcons special teams coach Ben Kotwica: ``A good guy and military guy who flew helicopters in war. He's detailed and coaches a mentality.'' Kotwica served eight years in the Army after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy. He was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Korea, and Iraq. He also served as escorts for former President George W. Bush, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In Operation Iraqi Freedom II, Kotwica served as a Combat Attack Helicopter Commander and flew more than 1,000 combat hours in support of five maneuver brigades within the 1st Calvary Division. During his service, Kotwica received the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star.

Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire
8dVaughn McClure

Falcons welcome back Koetter to run offense

Dirk Koetter, who served as the Falcons' offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2014, is returning to the team in the same role. He was recently fired as head coach of the Bucs.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons officially announce Dirk Koetter as the new offensive coordinator and Mike Mularkey as the tight ends coach. Koetter was the Falcons offensive coordinator from 2012-2014. Mularkey was the Falcons offensive coordinator from 2008-2011. Matt Ryan comfortable with both Koetter and Mularkey and said in the past that Koetter made him feel more confident as a quarterback.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

If Dirk Koetter turns down other suitors and comes back to become the Falcons offensive coordinator, it would mean he'll likely be paid as one of the top coordinators in the league, if not the top. And no doubt he would receive a multi-year deal, possibly even a three-year contract. It's highly doubtful he would come back for a possible one-and-done situation, with next year being a critical one for the Falcons and head coach Dan Quinn after a 7-9 season. Koetter a great fit for quarterback Matt Ryan, who praised Koetter from the first time around for making him a more confident signal-caller.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Former Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong interviewed for the same position with the Buffalo Bills, I'm told. Armstrong has coached special teams with the Falcons, Dolphins, and Bears.

30 for 30: Deion's Double Play -Trailer (0:55)

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Julio Jones named second-team All-Pro after leading the league with 1,677 receiving yards on 113 receptions with 8 touchdowns while tying Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown for the league high with 170 targets. The first-team All-Pro receivers were Houston's De'Andre Hopkins (1,572 yards, 115 receptions, 11 TDs, 164 targets) and New Orleans' Michael Thomas (1,405 yards, 125 receptions, 9 TDs, 148 targets). Joining Jones on second team at WR is Kansas City's Tyreek Hill (1,479 yards, 87 receptions, 12 TDs, 136 targets).

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

The Falcons will pick up SS Keanu Neal's fifth-year option, GM Thomas Dimitroff told me. That number probably will be around $6.7 million for Neal in 2020 and will become fully guaranteed on first day of '20 league year. Falcons have until May 3 to give Neal written notice on the fifth-year option. Neal, the 17th overall pick in 2016, a one-time Pro Bowler who played in just one game this past season after tearing his ACL but is on track for a full recovery. Dan Quinn said the players coming off season-ending injuries such as Neal, Ricardo Allen (Achilles), and Devonta Freeman (groin) might not be ready for OTAs but will be ready for training camp. Falcons picked up fifth-year options for first-rounders Desmond Trufant, Jake Matthews, and Vic Beasley Jr. in recent years, with Trufant and Matthews receiving extensions. Beasley status still up in the air during this roster evaluation period as he moves into option year at $12.81 million. That salary becomes fully guaranteed on March 13.

0:40

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Dan Quinn talks about resetting the Falcons with new members of the coaching staff after firing all of his coordinators, as well as the tight ends coach and a defensive assistant.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff on extensions for Julio Jones, Grady Jarrett, and Vic Beasley Jr.: ``Specifically on those three guys, interestingly enough they're all under CAA (sports agency) umbrella, so there's my plug to CAA. I have regular interaction with Todd France and Jimmy Sexton. As far as the specifics, we would like to have Grady back for many years to come. ... That has been our focus. We put it aside for a little bit through the season so he could focus on what he needed to focus on. Now we're back at focusing on that as really our priority to see how this proceeds. And I'm confident with it. As far as Vic and Julio, Vic, we're in the same mold right now. We're looking at all of our personnel and we're making sure that everyone fits in with what we're expecting into the future. I thought Vic came on well as the season progressed, continued to get up and around showing his athleticism and his ability. Need to continue to work on that, obviously. We're confident that he can continue to grow as a football player. Per Julio,we'll take care of that business. And that will be done, I don't know exactly when, but I'm not concerned about that. He and I and the organization are in a really good place right now.'' So no firm commitment to Beasley from Dimitroff, although both Dimitroff and Dan Quinn still believe Beasley has an upside.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Julio Jones' response when I asked him about finishing as the league's leading receiver with 1,677 yards: ``Just for my teammates, the offensive line did a great job. Matt did a great job. Sark did a great job calling them up, dialing them up, and me taking advantage of my opportunities.'' Notice how he mentioned himself last. Quite a humble star.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Dirk Koetter scheduled to interview for the Falcons' offensive coordinator position on Saturday, according to a source. Koetter, just let go as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' head coach, was the Falcons' offensive coordinator from 2012-2014. Koetter's last Falcons' offense in 2014 averaged 378.2 yards per game (8th), 284.6 passing yards per game (5th), and 23.8 points per game (12th). His Buccaneers' offense this past season averaged 415.5 yards per game (3rd), 320.3 passing yards per game (1st), and 24.8 points per game (12th). Matt Ryan praised Koetter before for making him a more confident quarterback. Falcons looking for a new coordinator after firing Steve Sarkisian. Former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell also scheduled to interview this week.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Will be hard for the Falcons not to go with Dirk Koetter as the OC, knowing Matt Ryan's fondness for Koetter. This hire has to be about what's best for Ryan, and Darrell Bevell might not be that guy after working in Seattle with Russell Wilson. Can't be any guessing games between Ryan and the OC; has to be someone he's confident and comfortable with. Koetter definitely is that guy. Said Ryan a few years ago after Koetter's first stint with the Falcons: "You know, Dirk taught me a lot about being confident in what we do. I think he believed in -- and rightfully so because, at the time, we had a lot of really good players -- he believed if I was comfortable with it, go. It made me take ownership of what I liked; what I didn't like. He pushed me to be better in that department.''

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons have parted ways with tight ends coach Wade Harman, multiple sources tell me. Puzzling move since Harman very instrumental in development of Pro Bowl alternate Austin Hooper. Harman well-respected not only by Falcons players, but players he's coached in the past such as Ed Dickson, now with the Seahawks. Never heard anything negative said about Harman.

AP Photo/John Bazemore
16dVaughn McClure

Sarkisian out as Falcons overhaul coaching staff

The Falcons' coaching staff will undergo an overhaul, as offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and special-teams coach Keith Armstrong have all been let go. Coach Dan Quinn takes over as DC.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

With Dan Quinn getting rid of all three coordinators in Steve Sarkisian, Marquand Manuel, and Keith Armstrong -- as reported by Adam Schefter -- the onus now falls on Quinn to bring the Falcons back to Super Bowl contention in 2019 after this year's 7-9 finish. Owner Arthur Blank won't except mediocrity next season, so the Falcons have to thrive in '19 and get back to the playoffs -- perhaps the Super Bowl or bust -- with new coordinators and new faces on the roster. Quinn is 36-28 through four seasons with the Super Bowl hangover still lingering. He'll be on the hotseat if the job doesn't get done next season.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons 2019 opponents: HOME: Saints (13-3), Panthers (7-9), Buccaneers (5-11), Rams (13-3), Seahawks (10-6), Jaguars (5-11), Titans (9-7), Eagles (9-7) ROAD: Saints, Panthers, Bucs, 49ers (4-12), Colts (10-6), Texans (11-5), Cardinals (3-13), Vikings (8-7-1).

Team Stats

Passing Yards290.84th
Rushing Yards98.327th
Points For25.910th
Points Against26.425th