Tag:Mike Mularkey
Posted on: February 23, 2012 11:45 am
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:32 pm
 

Jags owner: stadium tarps are like underachieving

Shahid Khan 'absolutely' wants to get rid of those tarps that cover seats in EverBank Field. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Just in case the five wins in 2011 or the .500-or-worse records dating back to 2008 didn't make it obvious enough, new Jaguars owner Shahid Khan would like to add another item to the list of "sure signs your franchise is a failure." Those infernal tarps that cover seats in the upper deck of EverBank Field.

Officially, the stadium has 76,867 seats but the tarps cover some 10,000 seats. But the notion that fans don't support the hometown team is inaccurate. It's just that the stadium is too big for the NFL market. (And this isn't a slap at Jacksonville; Pittsburgh's Heinz Field holds fewer than 70,000, as does Indy's Lucas Oil Stadium.)

The Florida Times-Union's Tania Ganguli wrote about this Wednesday.

"The tarps aren't as shameful as they're perceived to be nationally. They bring the size of the stadium down to an appropriate size for the market, and it still seats more than the stadiums of NFL teams in bigger markets, including the Chicago Bears."

As PFT notes, EverBank Stadium has to be expanded to more than 80,000 for the Georgia-Florida game because the NFL isn't as popular as college football in Florida. Khan hopes to change that and it starts with those tarps.

"Absolutely," Khan told Sports Business Journal's Daniel Kaplan when asked if he hoped to do away with the tarps altogether. "To me, every day I look at the tarps it is like underachieving, and I can’t wait to be able to do that."

Khan was also asked about new marketing and sales initiatives.

The new owner with the new head coach. (US PRESSWIRE)
"Some of the upper bowl, we have reduced prices," he said. "One of the strategic issues with the Jaguars is it is a young team. We don’t have the second-, third-, fourth-generation fans. 'I went to a game with my grandfather, and we walked through two feet of snow,' — and things like that. You don’t have any of those connections. This year … if you bring a child to the game, those tickets are half price. In certain sections we are doing that … to really develop the next generation. "

Part of that includes expanding the Jaguars brand beyond the United States.

"London: There is an ex-pat population; they understand the sport and [have] an interest. Canada would be another one. Germany is another one. People don’t realize how many football fans, NFL fans, are in Germany. Spain is another one; Barcelona is a very sports-centric city. … Especially for teams like Jacksonville, it provides a showcase."

Ultimately, popularity comes down to one thing: winning. That's something the Jags haven't done since 2007, which was also the only time the franchise won a playoff game during Jack Del Rio's eight-plus years as head coach. Now that chore falls to new head coach Mike Mularkey and second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

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Posted on: January 26, 2012 1:41 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 1:54 pm
 

Coaching carousel winners and losers

Flynn is one of the big winners from the coaching carousel. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

The NFL coaching carousel has come to a close with the Buccaneers and Colts the final two teams across the finish line, hiring coaches on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Let's take a look at some of the winners and losers from a hectic offseason. Because if we're not firing out knee-jerk reactions, what's the point?

Winners

Matt Flynn: Flynn was already going to get real paid this offseason. But new Fins coach Joe Philbin was his freaking quarterbacks coach. Yeah, the rumor is the Dolphins like Peyton Manning better than Flynn. (Also a rumor: I like steak better than tofu.) But Flynn knows Philbin's system and he certainly has to be more inclined to sign his ridiculously overpriced free-agent contract with a team employing his old coach and his old system right? Even if he's not, he could end up in a bidding war between Stephen Ross and Dan Snyder. That's like a sandwich made of $100 Bills.

Ryan Grigson
: The new Colts general manager still has a long road ahead, and needs to draft well to really get Indy's latest rebuild rolling. But he's got an owner who's setting him up well: his first two decisions (firing Jim Caldwell, hiring Chuck Pagano) mean that the Colts simply need to hire a competent offensive coordinator to groom their No. 1 overall pick and let their defensive-minded coach get to work on installing his scheme. Sound familiar? It should.

Norv Turner: Turner was certainly on the old hot seat when the season ended and somehow he still has a job. It might be loyalty. It might be Philip Rivers' influence. Or it might just be a miracle. Whatever, Turner was a lock to get fired and somehow stuck around San Diego for at least another year.

Steve Spagnuolo: Spags got canned from the Rams job but landed squarely on his feet when he got the Saints defensive coordinator job. They'll contend for Super Bowls over the next few years and as Wilson pointed out, Drew Brees is secretly his best weapon. It's an ideal spot to reload and wait for another head-coaching gig.

Jeff Fisher: Fisher got the quarterback he wants, the personnel power he wants and a big old pile of money when he chose the Rams over the Dolphins.

Jay Cutler: Mike Martz retired and took his seven-step drops behind a shoddy offensive line and no pretense of having a running game with him.

Atlanta Falcons: No offense to Mike Mularkey and Brian VanGorder (as well as his superb mustache) but the ATL just got a major assistant upgrade. Ryan maxed out under Mularkey, and Dirk Koetter loves to go vertical -- having Julio Jones and Roddy White make that an easier task than whoever was catching balls with the Jaguars. And Mike Nolan, quite simply, has a fantastic defensive track record.

Cam Newton/Andy Dalton: The two biggest rookie surprises lucked out big time this offseason as their respective offensive coordinators, Rob Chudzinski and Jay Gruden, didn't move on to theoretically greener pastures. Now Newton and Dalton will each get a full offseason to prepare and should look even better in their second year.

Losers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Even if Greg Schiano is "the guy," and there's a significant number of people who think he is not, they bungled this search. (For the record, I kind of like the Schiano hire, but it's risky.) They fired Raheem Morris quickly but were the last team to get a new coach in place. They whiffed -- publicly -- on Chip Kelly. They interviewed a bunch of old dudes -- Brad Childress, Mike Sherman, Marty Schottenheimer -- who now probably feel used. An unimpressive effort all around and indicative of how attractive this job is.

Rob Ryan: Think of all the people who got interviews this offseason. Everyone got an interview. Except Rex's twin brother. Think running his mouth and losing twice to the Giants because his secondary couldn't defend anyone ended up hurting his chances to get a head coaching job? It absolutely did.

Mike Zimmer: Also a dude who can't catch a break. Or interview well? Whatever, Zimmer finally got some heat for coaching jobs (it's been long enough) and couldn't seal the deal on anything. Hopefully he'll get more looks but this has a "flyover" feel to it in terms of how much interest other teams will have in Zimmer going forward.

Brian Schottenheimer: Schottey Jr. might have landed with the Rams, but he'll likely be under heavy scrutiny from fans and could see a short leash, depending on how Fisher's feeling. The worst part is a year ago, he was a hot name for a head-coaching job and instead the Jets ran him off while managing to air out some of their respective greivances with the rest of the dirty laundry.

Mike Sherman: Sherman was the leader in the clubhouse for the Bucs job ... or so we thought. Now he's reportedly headed to run Miami's offense. That could vault him back up to a head-coaching gig, but considering he found out about his firing from Texas A&M at a recruit's house (!), landing an NFL job just a few months later would've been a major coup.

Peyton Manning: Bill Polian's out, Jim Caldwell's out and the Colts seem hell bent on cleaning house. The logical next move appears to be shipping Manning out of town as well.

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Posted on: January 23, 2012 11:00 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 11:18 pm
 

Report: David Garrard will be 100% by April

There are plenty of quarterback-needy teams in the NFL and Garrard could help one of them. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Much has changed in Jacksonville since David Garrard was released days before the start of the 2011 regular season. First-round pick Blaine Gabbert eventually assumed the starting jobs (and struggled mightily in the process), head coach Jack Del Rio was fired midway through the season, owner Wayne Weaver sold the team to Shahid Khan, and Mike Mularkey was hired as in earlier this month to replace Del Rio.

But the Jaguars are no longer Garrard's problem. There was speculation that he might join the Dolphins after Chad Henne suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in October. It didn't happen, but not because Garrard "didn't feel like playing," but due to the fact that he needed surgery for a herniated disk in his back.

According to ESPNChicago's Michael Wright, Garrard should be healed up and ready to go in a few months.

mikecwright
David Garrard will be 100 percent healthy by end of March I'm told. Could be pretty good backup somewhere.
1/23/12 9:04 PM


It appears we have one more name to add to the list of available free-agent quarterbacks. The front-runners (in random order): Matt Flynn, Alex Smith, Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, Drew Brees, Vince Young, Chad Henne, Byron Leftwich and Garrard.

We first brought up these names shortly after the Broncos' season ended in New England. Given how inconsistent Tim Tebow had been in 2011, we wondered if John Elway and John Fox would honor their word on Tebow's prospects as Denver's starter in 2012 (Turns out, they will -- we're still skeptical).

So where might Garrard end up next season? This is a quarterback-driven league and because there's a shortage of really good ones, they come at a premium. Which means that Garrard probably won't have trouble finding work although it may have have to be as a backup.

The Dolphins, under new head coach Joe Philbin, might prefer Flynn (Philbin was previously the Packers' offensive coordinator). And presumably, the Redskins and the Browns want to get younger at the position. Same with the Cardinals (obvious exception). Which brings us back to our previous point: there may not be a starting job waiting for Garrard when he returns but as Caleb Hanie, Tyler Palko and T.J. Yates quickly discovered, you're never far from taking the field.

For now, though, Garrard has to get healthy. Best-case scenario: he'll work out for teams after the draft and help somebody fill out their roster heading into training camp. After that, it'll be up to him.

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:11 am
Edited on: January 15, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Falcons hire Dirk Koetter as new OC

Dirk Koetter has been hired as Atlanta's offensive coordinator (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

Falcons coach Mike Smith and former Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will be reunited as the Falcons announced the hiring of Koetter as their offensive coordinator on Sunday.

Koetter replaces Mike Mularkey, who was hired as Jacksonville’s head coach.

"I am very pleased to add Coach Koetter as our offensive coordinator," Smith said in a statement released by the team.  "Dirk is a veteran offensive coach who will bring years of NFL experience as an offensive coordinator as well as a fresh set of ideas to our offense. He is bright, he understands the intricacies of the vertical passing game, but he also wants to be able to run the football which is very important in the NFL.

"I look forward to working with Dirk and have tremendous confidence that he will be a great addition to our team and our coaching staff."

Koetter beat out an apparent interview list that included Brian Billick, Brian Schottenheimer and Packers quarterback coach Tom Clements in order to win the job from his old Jacksonville mate.

Koetter was hired as Jacksonville's offensive coordinator in 2007. He worked with Smith for one year. Smith was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator before he became Atlanta's head coach in 2008.

While Koetter’s offense didn’t impress this season -- even with the league’s leading rusher, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville finished last in the league in yards gained and 28th in points scored -- the Jaguars have been better under Koetter in years past. Not great, mind you. But closer to league average as opposed to league worst.

At the very least, Koetter will get to work with a franchise quarterback for the first time as an offensive coordinator, after spending his previous years dealing with David Garrard from 2007-10 and the disappointing rookie Blaine Gabbert last year. Matt Ryan will be quite an upgrade from those two.

Koetter inherits an offense blessed with established starters such as quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Michael Turner, tight end Tony Gonzalez and receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones. With the exception of Jones, who was a breakout rookie in 2011, all those playmakers, plus fullback Ovie Mughelli, have been Pro Bowl selections.

But Atlanta fans shouldn’t expect a huge change in offensive philosophy. As NFL analyst Adam Caplan notes, Murlakey and Koetter run a similar style of offense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: January 13, 2012 11:19 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 11:20 pm
 

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

Atlanta head coach Mike Smith is looking for more consistency from his team. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Falcons lost their offensive and defensive coordinators are consecutive days last week. Mike Mularkey was announced as the Jaguars' new head coach on Tuesday and the day before, Brian VanGorder bolted Atlanta to take the same job with the Auburn Tigers.

Given how the Falcons' season ended -- managing just two points and watching their third-ranked run defense get treaded by Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw in a punchless wild-card loss to the Giants -- it's probably best that Mularkey and VanGorder got other gigs because there's a chance they may have been relieved of their duties.

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Whatever the speculation, the reality is this: the Falcons are looking to fill two very important positions for a team that owner Arthur Blank admits has some work to do to be considered elite.

“We’re on the door, we’re knocking, but we’re on the other side of the door,” he said Thursday according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Knox Bardeen.

As for potential candidates, we've already mentioned the organization is reportedly looking at Brian Schottenheimer and Brian Billick to replace Mularkey. The former doesn't exactly evoke images of a high-powered aerial assault.  And neither does the latter, frankly, although Billick had great success as a coordinator in the late '90s with the Vikings when he wasn't responsible for drafting and developing the quarterback. That's the case in Atlanta too, so maybe that's a good sign … except, as CBSSports.com's Josh Katzowitz points out, Billick may be too rich for the Falcons' taste.

On the other side of the ball, more encouraging news: the team is reportedly interested in Steve Spagnuolo, the recently fired Rams coach, and Mike Nolan, the former 49ers head coach who also served as a defensive coordinator with the Ravens, Broncos and most recently the Dolphins.

“Moving forward, this defense needs to continue its growth and evolution as a passionate and fiery defense, one that is going to fly to the football, disrupt, be opportunistic and capitalized on opportunities to turn the game around; flip the game in critical situations,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. “We’ll look for a coordinator who will [aid] Coach Smith and his approach to putting that type of aggressive defense on the field.”

Spagnuolo may have been mostly unimpressive during his three years in St. Louis, but he was the architect behind the Giants' defensive game plan to stop the Patriots' explosive offense in Super Bowl XLII. Ledbetter adds that "Nolan is considered a 3-4 coach. But [Falcons head coach Mike] Smith’s respect him from their days together in Baltimore runs deep. They could likely mold the principles of Nolan’s 3-4 with Smith’s 4-3 if necessary."

Another guy Smith's close to? Jack Del Rio; the two worked together in Baltimore and Jacksonville, but apparently there are no plans for a reunion in Atlanta.

Here's to hoping that whoever the Falcons hire they instill in the players a sense of consistency. Because to hear Smith tell it, that was lacking this season.

“There was inconsistency in our focus, there was inconsistency in our will to play and inconsistency in our enthusiasm," he said.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:41 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 10:43 pm
 

New Jags coach Mike Mularkey keeps Mel Tucker

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.”

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:15 pm
 

Report: Falcons looking at Schottey, Billick

By Josh Katzowitz

While we speculate about whether former Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would join his father if Marty Schottenheimer got the Buccaneers head coaching job, another potential job has emerged for the younger Schottey.

According to NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora, Schottenheimer is on the list to be interviewed for Mike Mularkey’s old job as the Falcons offensive coordinator.

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While Schottenheimer is set to interview for the open University of Alabama offensive coordinator position as well, Atlanta also appears interested in Super Bowl-title winning coach Brian Billick, former Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, and Packers quarterback coach Tom Clements.

Assuming Billick wouldn’t want that job (and assuming that if Billick did want the job, the Falcons wouldn’t want to pay the salary Billick would desire), Koetter seems like a decent option. Although the Jaguars offense was a disaster this year when running back Maurice Jones-Drew wasn’t running the ball, Atlanta coach Mike Smith and Koetter worked together in Jacksonville.

Clements, meanwhile, was apparently a candidate for the Penn State job that ultimately went to Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:13 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 11:10 pm
 

Jaguars hire Mike Mularkey as head coach

By Will Brinson

On Monday we passed along the news that Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder left Atlanta for the same position at Auburn and wondered if offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey might be out the door also. Well, he is, and he's headed to Jacksonville as the next head coach of the Jaguars.

The Jaguars made the news official on Tuesday night; CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman earlier confirmed a report that Mularkey was set to be hired.

Mularkey will become the third head coach in Jaguars history, and the first under new owner Shahid Khan after interviewing with the Jags on Tuesday.

Mularkey's lone head coaching experience came with the Bills from 2005 through 2007; he resigned in the middle of the 2007 season after the organization hired former Bills coach Marv Levy to work in the front office and the two didn't see eye-to-eye.

He also left the Dolphins early; those two factors led one NFL head coach to tell our Pete Prisco that he "didn't get it" when it came to the Mularkey hire.

On Tuesday, Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden pulled his name out of the running for any head-coaching vacancies; he was considered one of the top candidates in Jacksonville for his work with rookie Andy Dalton.

Mularkey's had similar success with a young signal caller, helping to turn Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan into one of the premiere passers in the league.

The knocks on Mularkey the past few years have been a) conservative play-calling and b) a lack of success in the playoffs.

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He fits the bill in Jacksonville, though, because he's upgrading at running back (Maurice Jones-Drew is significantly better than Michael Turner and much more dynamic), and because the Jaguars would've been a borderline playoff-caliber team in a weak AFC South if they could've mustered any offense.

It's a good move on his part because, as our own Pete Prisco pointed out, there will be plenty of "Falcons fans and some players happy to see him go." Those are the breaks that come with going 0-3 in the playoffs over the course of four years though.

Mularkey's chief job will be working with former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert, who showed promise in 2011 but was submarined by being thrust into a starter's role before he was ready and without any help at wide receiver.

If the organization can make a splash in a deep free-agent market and Mularkey gets a full offseason working with Gabbert, it wouldn't be shocking to see rapid improvement from the Jaguars in 2012.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com