Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Mike Smith mum on Koetter and Browns
By Vaughn McClure
MOBILE, Ala. -- Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith played it cool when news broke of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter interviewing for the Cleveland Browns' head coaching job. ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed Koetter would interview.
"It's not appropriate for me to talk about another team's coaching search," Smith said.
Smith had no problem discussing the attributes Koetter brings to any team, no matter the coaching position. Koetter has been a head coach before in college at both Boise State and Arizona State. He even considered returning to Boise State next season after talking with the school in December, but a canceled flight to meet with school officials altered those plans.
Koetter has interviewed for NFL head-coaching jobs before, including Denver's in 2011 before John Fox got the job. Koetter turned down a chance to interview for several opportunities following the 2012 season, including the Browns opening that went to the recently fired Rob Chudzinski.
"Dirk's done good job for us over the last two seasons," Smith said. "His expertise is quarterbacking and putting together an offense, and he's done a wonderful job for us for the last two seasons."
Smith recalled when Koetter was a hot coaching candidate in '12.
"Yeah, I do remember it," Smith said. "I lived it. I don't recall exactly how many [opportunities he had]."
And Smith's advice to Koetter during that time?
"Be yourself," Smith said. "I thought Dirk and all of our coordinators did a very good job last year when they were in that situation."
If all goes well with the Browns, the Falcons could find themselves in quite a predicament. Smith was counting on Koetter to guide the offense back to prominence following a 4-12 season. This week at the Senior Bowl practices, Koetter talked about having a past chemistry with new offensive line coach Mike Tice. Koetter also talked about having a renewed emphasis on establishing the running game with changes expected to beef up the offensive line.
Now, the Falcons better have a Plan B.