Posted January 10, 2013

Jaguars press reset button, fire Mike Mularkey

Jacksonville Jaguars
Mike Mularkey's Jaguars finished 29th in offense and 30th in points scored in 2012. (Bill Wippert/AP)

Mike Mularkey’s Jaguars finished 29th in offense and 30th in points scored in 2012. (Bill Wippert/AP)

New Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell handed Mike Mularkey his walking papers Thursday, ending Mularkey’s very brief and extremely disappointing one-year run with the team.

Jacksonville dropped from a 5-11 team in 2011 to 2-14 this year, in Mularkey’s lone season as head coach. Possibly worse yet, quarterback Blaine Gabbert took no substantial strides forward under Mularkey’s watch — Gabbert, the No. 10 overall pick in 2011, finished 1-9 as a starter with a 77.4 QB rating.

His lack of improvement, as much as anything, may have spurred Jaguars owner Shad Khan and Caldwell to erase the chalkboard and start from scratch.

“Mike is an excellent coach and I am sure he will succeed in his next stop in the NFL,” Caldwell said in a statement. “However, I must do what I believe is best for the Jacksonville Jaguars and immediately explore every avenue possible to turn our football team around. For that to happen as seamlessly as we want, and as quickly as our fans deserve, I feel it is in everyone’s best interests for an immediate and clean restart.”

Mularkey won the Jaguars’ job after four seasons as the offensive coordinator in Atlanta. He will likely now find himself back in the mix for any open offensive coordinator jobs — though the Gabbert issue could hold him back a bit.

GALLERY: THE NFL’S ONE AND DONE COACHING FRATERNITY

That quarterback conundrum will be front and center for Caldwell and his new head coach. The Jaguars finished the season with Chad Henne as their starter. Henne turned in a couple of decent performances, but nothing that would push Jacksonville to commit to him long-term.

And Gabbert remains under contract through 2014. That, however, does not figure to keep the Jaguars from exploring the free agent market, considering a QB (Geno Smith?) at No. 2 overall in this year’s draft or thinking about a trade.

Caldwell quickly put the kibosh on any Tim Tebow-to-Jacksonville rumors, with regards to a trade, on Thursday:

“I can’t imagine a scenario where Tim Tebow would be Jacksonville Jaguar,” Caldwell said.

All of the recent Jagaurs news, plus Gabbert’s shortcomings, did seem to be pushing the team’s narrative toward a Tebow-centric conclusion. But while Caldwell’s declaration  takes the polarizing former Florida Gator off the board, there remains little question that deciding on a No. 1 quarterback will be at the heart of the new GM’s aim from now until the start of next season.

In Gabbert’s defense, he will be facing a third straight season with a new coaching staff and new offense. Someone like Mike McCoy might be able to get the best of him, too. McCoy, currently the Denver offensive coordinator, has been a hot name on the coaching carousel and has had great success with QBs ranging from Tebow to Peyton Manning.

As far as other possibilities for the Jaguars’ job go: current 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman already has generated some buzz, and Jay Gruden was much in the mix last year, before Mularkey was hired. Lovie Smith also may get a call from Jacksonville, given his track record in charge of a tough, defensive-minded team in Chicago.

The Jaguars could use a very quick turnaround — their downtrodden fan base grew even more frustrated in 2012, as the Jaguars faltered while a rapidly rebuilt Indianapolis team surged to a postseason berth. With the Texans and Colts atop the division, Jacksonville faces a substantial uphill climb back to relevance.

Mularkey will not be around for that journey. Only time will tell if Gabbert eventually follows him out the door.

16 comments
Dana2
Dana2

So Mularkey was fulla' mularkey?

 

Methinks the jagwads had bigger issues to address.  Scapegoat?  perhaps

luvfoozball
luvfoozball

Poor Mularkey. Its not his fault that the ex-GM SUPER reached to select Blaine Gabbert last year.

RobertSmith
RobertSmith

A little late to get into the competition for finding a coach.  They SHOULD bring in Tebow ... probably the only NFL team that should.  He is NOT the answer, but he can win more games than Gabbert while they look for a real QB and it would be a sound marketing move.

olansuddeth
olansuddeth

Anybody remember the huge debate about who would be the better NFL quarterback - Gabbert or Cam Netwon? 

I never understood that one.  Netwon was at the top of college football in efficiency, had a ridiculous number of touchdowns, and had a ton of physical tools.  Gabbert had very pedestrian numbers in a similar system and lacked those physical tools... yet so many of the experts had him as the best QB in the draft.

Insert hindsight comment here.

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

Look at all the terrible teams in the NFL. The reason they suck is because they either mis-evaluated O and D linemen during the draft or didn't have the coaching stability for player development. The game starts at the linemen level and J ville has blown it in both categories. Prioritizing a QB (Tebow?) or skill player when the lines are in shambles are why no one can keep a job.

 

Prescription: In a division with mediocre to above average passers in Locker, Luck, and Schaub, a ferocious front 4 and pass rush will keep them in games. (ask the Denver Broncos). Add in good O line protection for Gabbert and MJD and this is an 8-8 team. They have to begin rebuilding the lines and stop the carousel RIGHT NOW in order for it to pay off 2014-2015.

bbc
bbc

Feel for Mularkey. The guy was in a no-win situation. Previous regime got Blaine Gabbert as the QB and the new ownership had a stalemate with MJD (Maurice Jones Drew). Without a decent QB and without the best player on the team (MJD) playin for the team Jags had no chance. Mularkey was the fall guy and was unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

xtrout
xtrout

I think Alex Smith ends up in Jacksonville as starting QB if Caldwell bring in Roman.

 

pandah462
pandah462

Weird.  Another SI article sprinkling Tebow in wherever remotely applicable.  "Oh, save me, Jeeeeebussssss!"

Dana2
Dana2

 @RobertSmith Yup.  Unless they can land someone like Smith from SF, they're better off just welcoming the Tebow circus to town, collecting the revenue & national attention / hype while they can, and try to rebuild with a future qb.

 

They might also get a few "highlights" out of it as well.  :D

NJPoster
NJPoster

 @pandah462 So if he was released you wouldn't think the jags should sign him on a flier? I don't know whether his true potential is but your dismissal of him smacks of the usual espn remedial talking points.  He helped the broncos to defeat a very tough steelers team in the playoffs.  That alone deserves at least a look in training camp.  

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @pandah462 Remotely applicable?  Tim Tebow is from the Jacksonville area, has been rumored to be Jags bound for a couple of years, and is likely to be let loose by the Jets.  You obviously don't like the guy, but the Jags franchise needs something to energize it, and maybe this would be a positive step.

pljaye
pljaye

Hey, panda bear, your endorsement of Gabbert and Henne are ample proof of your poor judgment and lack of credibility. Apparently, you bring little else to the table besides an irrational dislike of Tim Tebow.

JohnP
JohnP

 @JoeCabot  @pandah462 Clearly you are just a negative hater who has nothing good to say. The world needs less anal people like you who look for any opportunity to be a d!ck 

pandah462
pandah462

 @JoeCabot  @pandah462 Zzzzzzzz.  Hopefully the Jacksonville heads have more common sense than picking him up.  The guy is a joke and needs to go away.  They have Henne and Gabbert on the payroll.  Those two aren't great, but with the right supporting staff, they could be adequate.  They need to find a solid player to compete with those two, and that's not Tebow.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @pandah462  You don't like Tim Tebow but are okay with Henne & Gabbert.  Only one of the three has a winning record in the league & has thrown a TD pass in a playoff game.  He may not be the long term answer, but he & MJD could combine for a solid running game in a conservative game plan while the Jags retool the entire organization.