Jacksonville Jaguars: Falcons OC Mike Mularkey Hired as Next Jags Head Coach

Geoffrey MortonCorrespondent IIJanuary 10, 2012

FLOWERY BRANCH, GA - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL,   Mike Mularkey of the Atlanta Falcons poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

After narrowing down their head coaching candidates to a select few, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made the decision to hire Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey as their new head coach.

Mularkey's Falcons offense was seventh in the league in points scored per game with 25.7, 10th in yards gained per game with 376.6, eighth in passing yards per game with 262.0 and 17th in rushing yards per game with 114.6.

During the 2011 season, with Mularkey as OC, running back Michael Turner rushed for 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns while quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 4,177 yards and 29 touchdowns. Undoubtedly the Jaguars would like quarterback Blaine Gabbert's 2012 numbers to look a lot more like Ryan's 2011 numbers.

With a solid defense already in place in Jacksonville, it is a smart move for the Jaguars to target an offensive-minded head coach who can work with the already phenomenal ground game led by running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Mularkey can also put a lot of time into improving the league's worst passing attack led by quarterback Blaine Gabbert and a multitude of mediocre receivers.

After a dismal 2011 season that saw the Jaguars go 5-11 and secure the seventh overall pick in the 2012 draft, the Jaguars began searching for answers at head coach. They may have found one in Mularkey, who went 9-7 and 5-11 as the Bills' head coach from 2004-2005, but managed to lead a very potent Atlanta Falcons offense the past few years.

There is no news yet on the specific details of the contract, but Jaguars fans can rejoice in the fact that their franchise has obtained what will hopefully be a much better head coach than Jack Del Rio proved to be.