|The new Jags owner thinks that Mularkey will be the key to the team's long-term success. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Ryan Wilson
The Falcons managed just two points in their playoff loss to the Giants last week and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey parlayed that into the Jaguars head-coaching job.
Actually, that had nothing to do with Mularkey's new gig; Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan said that he was looking for a coach who'd be successful over the long term, and in his mind, Mularkey is his guy.
"When you start sobering up, how does it feel?" Khan said. "That's the key issue. After the binge, how do you feel? ... A wonderful thing about football is everybody looks great until the ball is snapped. Once the ball is snapped, results speak for themselves and we know in September how good a job he is doing preparing, strategizing, [assembling] the staff. It will all come out. By that time, the buzz, the splash, is going to be history."
We'll have to wait eight months to see on-field results, but Mularkey, who was the Bills head coach in 2004-2005, has begun putting together his coaching staff. ESPN.com's Adam Schefter reports that Mel Tucker, who served as the Jaguars' interim head coach after Jack Del Rio was fired in late November, will remain as the defensive coordinator. And Falcons quarterbacks coach Bob Bratkowski will be the Jags' new offensive coordinator.
Tucker apparently turned down an opportunity to join the Vikings as defensive coordinator to return to Jacksonville.
And Bratkowksi, who worked with Matt Ryan in Atlanta and served as the Bengals' offensive coordinator for a decade (including Carson Palmer's tenure there), will now be charged with developing the team's 2011 first-round pick, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and providing NFL rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew some help.
CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter John Oehser writes that Gabbert is a good fit for Mularkey's offensive philosophy. “In this offense, you have to be able to move out of the pocket," Mularkey said. "We like to run the ball, but you have to have something to play off the run and Blaine fits that mold great.”
As for the less than enthusiastic public response to the news that Mularkey had been hired, fans can take solace in this: the new coach says he has learned from his previous mistakes. While the offense will be his, Mularkey will turn over play-calling duties to Bratkowaski. “There are some guys in this league who are excellent play-callers and can manage games (as a head coach)," he said. "I’m not sure I’m one of them.”
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.