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Mularkey announces he will not call plays, but he will build a winner

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By Jonah Rosenblum

New Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey announced that he will not call the plays on offense, and explained his desire to get involved in the Jacksonville community in his introductory press conference on Wednesday.

He said that he would talk with interim head coach and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker later in the day, as well as on Thursday. The Jaguars had a 2-3 record after Tucker took over for dismissed head coach Jack Del Rio.

Mularkey, who previously served as the Falcons' offensive coordinator, said that he was intrigued by the energy he perceived from Jacksonville owner Shad Kahn and general manager Gene Smith.

"The energy that came from that room, it's hard to explain, the connection is hard to explain," Mularkey said. "I'm excited about this. This is a team that is very close to making things happen, I'm here to make sure it does happen."

Kahn said that when he was looking for a new head coach, he was looking for someone who would be a force both on and off the field.

"Somebody we like and trust, somebody who is going to win," Kahn said. "A man and a woman who will connect with the community, and someone who will lead the rebirth of the Jaguars and really make Jacksonville proud. Mike Mularkey is that man."

The press conference came just three days after Mularkey's offense was held scoreless in the Falcons' 24-2 loss to the Giants.

"Anytime you lose, anytime you don't play well, it's disappointing," Mularkey said, before recalling what he told his offensive players on the way back from New York. '"You can't let that three hours take away the journey that got you there, all the good things that you did. Don't lose sight of that, you'll be bombarded with nothing but three hours. We did a lot of good things.'"

Among those good things, Mularkey led an Atlanta offense that ranked 10th in total offense and seventh in points scored.

Mularkey said he appreciated the opportunity to be in charge again, after he left his previous head-coaching job in Buffalo with a 14-18 record.

"I don't want to get into that because I'm looking more toward the future, and I always felt it was the right thing to do," Mularkey said. "I was telling my wife that it's unbelievable that we're going to have a chance to interview for this position because we did the right thing. It's unbelievable that I got a chance again."

Mularkey takes over a Jacksonville team that had a 5-11 record in 2011 and was never able to win consecutive games. Mularkey will be relied upon to fix a Jaguars' passing attack that finished last in the NFL with 136.2 yards per game last season.

After helping Falcons QB Matt Ryan grow into a Pro Bowl player, he'll be expected to do the same with Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert, who just completed his rookie campaign, in which he was sacked 40 times and completed just 50.8 percent of his passes.

"He's a competitor, I see some field command from him," Mularkey said. "When you miss an offseason, and you don't have that chance to be in that meeting room, where you can control it a little bit, where there's so many positives that can come from it, that put him behind the eight-ball."

Kahn said that the decision to hire Mularkey was not about creating a huge sensation.

"The issue was not splash, the issue was smart," Kahn said. "It's about something sustainable and building a winner for the long term that will serve the fans well in the future."

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