Jags Fans, Don’t Bet on Mike Mularkey

Posted: January 11, 2012 in Jacksonville Jaguars
Tags: , , , ,

The odds are against the Jaguars and new head coach Mike Mularkey.

Will he be the next Bill Belichick or Sean Payton? Or, more likely, will he be the next Cam Cameron, Greg Williams, Marty Mornhinweg, Josh McDaniels, Dave Campo or Ray Rhodes, all highly regarded NFL coordinators who bombed when they became head coaches? Or, just as likely, will he be the next Joe Gibbs, Dom Capers or Mike Shanahan enjoyed success the firs time around as head coaches, but bombed in their encores?

I believe coaches are like players: There are a handful of specials ones and a handful of duds. Those in the middle – probably 90 percent – succeed or fail based on who’s around them and circumstances beyond their control.

Mularkey, 50, has been a head coach, going 9-7 and 5-11 in two seasons with the Buffalo Bills. A change of top management led to him walking away from Buffalo. Mainly, he has built a resume as an offensive coordinator, the last four years with Atlanta.

In the Jaguars, he inherits a team with a solid foundation on defense, special teams and the NFL’s leading rusher, Maurice Jones-Drew. The missing piece, of course, is the passing game. Can Mularkey develop Blaine Gabbert into a quarterback who is worthy of having been the 10th overall draft pick in the 2011 draft?

I also think developing players is overrated. Obviously there are exceptions, but mainly it is putting a player, particularly a quarterback, is the right position. What Jim Harbaugh did with Alex Smith this season in San Francisco is a perfect example.

The vast majority of the time, however, a player either has the talent, work ethic and intangible to succeed or he does not. Like the old cliché says, you can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig.

Is Gabbert a “pig” or an Alex Smith or something better?

Mularkey’s success or failure likely will depend on the answer to that question. And, of course, if General Manager Gene Smith finds a couple of receivers in free agency and the next draft.

As usual, Jaguar fans will simply have to wait and see. True Jaguar fans will take the high road and assume Mularkey learned some lessons in Buffalo and will push the right buttons in Jacksonville. Skeptics will whine that Mularkey lacks a marquee name and never give him a chance to succeed unless he produces instant results. They’ll also whine about Mularkey’s last game as Atlanta’s OC when the Falcons‘offense failed to score in losing 24-2 to the Giants.

Neither group will show much patience. That’s not the era in which we live. Mularkey’s eventual departure from Jacksonville likely will resemble the departures of Tom Coughlin and Jack Del Rio, not a ticker -tape parade.


  1. Terri says:

    When is someone going to put gene smith on the spot and see why he is running this program into the dirt? Why is his pay out? 14 and 18 ???? Why on EARTH?!!! Dear Mr. Khan’t you AREN’T getting my money!!! I hope your experiment fails and another team goes to LA

  2. Jagwads says:

    Jack Del Rio is better than Mullarkey. This must be some kind of a joke.

  3. Wyman says:

    I would argue the 2011 Jaguar defense was a miracle case, unlikely to repeat itself, although I sure hope I’m wrong. The offensive line isn’t scaring people, Jones-Drew is overdue for injury in 2012–hope I’m wrong about that too, and without solid receivers and tightends who catch passes–the Marcedes Lewis soap opera, Gabbert need not worry about developing.

    In other words, Blaine Gabbert may be the least of the Jaguars worries for 2012. Still, a quality back-up is to be desired at the quarterback position. The first showing of The Wrath of Khan may come as a result of finding he’s bought himself an NFL bottom-feeder. He might turn loose those “season ticket holders” he values so much to annihilate the team for not living up to the price charged for season tickets, etc. (Gene Smith better be on his toes this off-season!)

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