Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on January 10, 2012, 10:09 PM EST
Six years after walking away from a head coaching job in Buffalo, Mike Mularkey will again run an NFL team.
Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Unionreports that the Jaguars are hiring Mularkeyto be their next head coach. Mularkey has been the offensive coordinator in Atlanta since 2008.Mularkey interviewed for the job on Tuesday and clearly had a strong performance. He gets the job on the same day that Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden pulled out of the running and only two days after Mularkey’s Falcons offense didn’t score a point against the Giants.
This may not be a popular move in Jacksonville. And Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com points out that it may be popular with many Falcons fans and some Falcons players.
We’re inclined to give owner Shahid Khan and G.M. Gene Smith the benefit of the doubt for now. Mularkey had one good season in Buffalo as a head coach and one not so good season. He didn’t seem ready for the job, but we always thought he might be someone that would be much better the second team around. (The same goes for former Bills coach Gregg Williams.)
Mularkey certainly has an uphill climb in Jacksonville. While the defensive talent is solid, Mularkey will have to quickly develop Blaine Gabbert and Smith needs to find some receivers for Gabbert to throw to.
The Jaguars are clearly betting that Mularkey is the man to make Gabbert look like a franchise quarterback because he didn’t look like one as a rookie.
UPDATE 10:48 p.m. ET: The Jaguars officially confirmed the hire. Mularkey is the third coach in Jaguars franchise history after Tom Coughlin and Jack Del Rio.