Jaguars hire Mularkey as head coach

Posted Jan. 10, 2012 @ 10:49 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

Updated Jan. 10, 2012 @ 11:46 p.m. ET

The Jaguars have hired Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey as their new head coach, the team confirmed Tuesday night.

Mularkey, 50, interviewed for the job Tuesday.

Mularkey has developed 2008 No. 3 overall draft choice Matt Ryan into a Pro Bowl quarterback in 2010, and that background is thought to have been a major factor in convincing the Jaguars to hire him. Jacksonville believes the development of QB Blaine Gabbert, who just completed a difficult rookie season with 12 TD passes and 11 interceptions in 14 starts as the team stumbled to a 5-11 record.

Before joining the Falcons in 2008, Mularkey had a head-coaching stint in Buffalo, where he posted records of 9-7 in 2004 and 5-11 in 2005 before being replaced by Dick Jauron.

Last weekend the Falcons were eliminated from the playoffs by the Giants 24-2 in the wild-card round. Mularkey's departure means that Atlanta has lost both coordinators since the end of the season. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder left the Falcons to take the same position at Auburn.

Mularkey is a native of Miami and played for the University of Florida. He had been scheduled to interview for the vacant Dolphins head-coaching job this week.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars are hoping to retain Mel Tucker, who became interim coach when Jack Del Rio was fired Nov. 29, as their defensive coordinator. However, Tucker was in Minnesota Tuesday night interviewing with the Vikings. Fred Pagac still holds the D-coordinator position with the Vikes.

The way we see it

Mularkey faces a difficult task in trying to lift the Jaguars out of mediocrity in a small market, where empty seats at home games have been a long-standing problem. In addition, with a primary task of developing Gabbert, he is working with a player who, unlike Ryan when he was drafted, is still far from being an NFL-ready quarterback, although he does possess considerable upside.