All those Atlanta fans that aren’t thrilled with the hiring of Dirk Koetter as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator might find some good news in the numbers I’m about to reveal.
Unlike previous offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, Koetter likes to use screen passes. That’s pretty obvious from his days as the coordinator in Jacksonville.
In 2011, Jacksonville rookie Blaine Gabbert completed 36 of 45 (80 percent) of his attempts on screen passes for 190 yards, which ranked No. 19 in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Jaguars may have thrown even a few more screens than that. Gabbert started the final 14 games. Luke McCown started the first two games and we can likely assume he attempted at least a few screens. We don’t know for sure because ESPN Stats & Information’s list of numbers on screen passes only goes 36 quarterbacks deep.
Right near the bottom of the list is Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. He attempted only 20 screens while starting all 16 regular-season games. He completed 16 of those attempts for 68 yards -- that yardage total ranked No. 32 among quarterbacks.
Koetter wasn’t simply trying to take pressure off his rookie quarterback. He’s got a history of using the screen. In the 2010 season, former Jacksonville starter David Garrard completed 37 of 42 screen passes (88.1 percent) for 316 yards.