An interesting point was made on the radio this week concerning Mike Mularkey. Jeff Prosser of 1010XL’s Sports Final Radio said, “Mike Mularkey is Cam Cameron.” He was making the argument that these were two great offensive minds who spent time as offensive coordinators with various NFL teams, but have had limited success as the captain of their own franchise.
If he can be compared to Cameron, then what does that say for Mularkey? Cameron spent one season in Miami with the Dolphins and had a 1-15 season before he was let go from the team and replaced by Tony Sparano. Mularkey had a stint in Buffalo for two seasons with a 14-18 record before being let go and his head coaching record right now stands at 15-25.
Are we putting too much emphasis on Mularkey and the Jaguars, or is he as accountable as other NFL head coaches who have more talent to work with? The Jaguars, who were beaten for the fifth straight time at home this season by the Indianapolis Colts Thursday night, 27-10, are last in the league in offense and in the bottom quarter of the league in defense.
By the way, the Jaguars are 1-8 this season and things don't look to be getting any better. It does not take Vince Lombardi to tell anyone this team is going nowhere fast.
And Mularkey, for all his offensive-minded passing attack in Atlanta, hasn’t shown the same depth of the offense that has made quarterback Matt Ryan and receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones stars in the Peach State.
Oh, and let me remind you—Dirk Koetter is the offensive coordinator for the Falcons.
So at the mid-point of the season, is the Jaguars head coach in jeopardy of losing his job?
It certainly would not be fair to have a guy come in and work with this talent pool and be dismissed after only one season. Gabbert is improving, but he is not there yet. His receivers are not giving a maximum effort in route running and the team has been hampered by not having Maurice Jones-Drew in the starting lineup because of a foot injury.
But enough of the excuses.
Mularkey, as good a guy as you might ever meet in the NFL, isn’t being paid to be a nice guy. He is being paid to win football games. He is being paid to end this drought of not making the playoffs since 2007. He is being paid, along with his coaching staff, to turn Blaine Gabbert into Drew Bledsoe or Boomer Esiason.
None of which has happened yet. And the likelihood of it happening this season was eliminated when the Jaguars could not beat a Detroit team that does not run the ball well but still scored four touchdowns on the ground. Something has to give. General Manager Gene Smith aside, who should be handed his pink slip the day after the season is over.
This team has nothing to show for its effort, and with the new and improved Colts coming into Jacksonville on Thursday, you have to wonder if this will be another lopsided loss.
I’m actually beginning to think the 22-17 win over the Colts in Week 3 was a fluke or something. Maybe the pundits knew all along how bad this team would be without seeing them up close and in person. There is something about this team that continually disappoints and it has nothing to do with head coaches being hired and fired. We are looking at Jack Del Rio’s offense all over again.
Team owner Shad Khan is accessible and says the right things and appears to be committed to building a winning organization.
I must admit, though, it’s hard to think he is serious about keeping this team in Jacksonville when he is talking about playing games in London, being on 60 Minutes and appears to be every bit the rock star his top players can only hope to be.
Personally, I would hope Mularkey gets another year, with or without Gabbert. Based on this year’s quarterback class, there does not seem to be a clear choice of a passer who can immediately help this team. Free agency may be thin and there are other more pressing needs on both sides of the ball than who is actually throwing the ball.
Until Mularkey can develop a culture of winning and positivity in this town and with the team, it would appear the Jaguars are destined to be bottom feeders. And until that moniker changes, Mularkey’s job will always be called into question.