Why the Jacksonville Jaguars Absolutely Must Fire Mike Mularkey

Thomas GaliciaFeatured Columnist IVNovember 8, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 21: Head coach Mike Mularkey of the Jacksonville Jaguars on the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum on October 21, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars are arguably the worst team in the NFL at 1-8 after a 27-10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Despite only having one year on the job, the buck stops with head coach Mike Mularkey, who must be fired.

Look at the reasons the Jaguars are bad, and they all point to Mularkey. The former Falcons offensive coordinator was brought into Jacksonville to ignite a stagnant offense and develop 2011 first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert.

The offense, however, is a mess, as they came into their Thursday Night Football tilt against the Indianapolis Colts ranked last in points scored and 30th in the league in point differential with a horrendous minus-102.

Gabbert himself has been horrendous, posting a 41.8 quarterback rating through the first eight games of the season. But this isn't all his fault, as the Jaguars have failed to surround him with a competent offensive line and weapons for him to throw the ball to.

Gabbert should get credit for only throwing five interceptions on the season, for when you consider how bad every other aspect of his play has been, that's a pretty low number.

When Gabbert left the game, his backup Chad Henne (ran out of town in his last stop in Miami for being incompetent) showed a better command and control of the offense than Gabbert showed, leading the Jaguars to their lone touchdown of the night.

But despite those hindrances, a 41.8 passer rating is still terrible and indicative of the lack of development at the position. Other quarterbacks have played better despite having less weapons and worse offensive lines.

For contrast, look down south on I-95, where fellow Big 12 quarterback and rookie Ryan Tannehill has a 78.1 passer rating and has only thrown six interceptions, with three of them coming in Week 1. Tannehill, however, doesn't have the same advantage that Gabbert had coming into the season of playing in the league for a year.

But Tannehill does have the advantage of a good coaching staff that has been adept at developing quarterbacks. Mike Mularkey hasn't done a good job of that. His best offensive years came while he was offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, as he was instrumental in developing quarterback Matt Ryan into the MVP candidate he is today.

But outside of that, you will see a trail of failure. His quarterbacks in Pittsburgh while he served as offensive coordinator were not development projects, but veterans like Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox, who were more in the game-manager mode than play-making quarterbacks. Their strength was the running game, where they were successful enough for the Buffalo Bills to hire him as their head coach in 2004.

In Buffalo, Mularkey oversaw a Bills offense that consistently ranked in the bottom of the NFL's offensive stats. After finishing 9-7 in his first season in Buffalo, his team would regress to 5-11 in season two, prompting his dismissal from the Bills.

In Jacksonville, Mularkey hasn't even had the good season to regress from, but the offense has actually regressed from last season. The Jaguars finished 5-11 last season, ranking 28th overall in points scored and 26th in point differential. Gabbert even had better numbers through his first eight games of 2011 than he does in the first half of this season, while managing to show some modest improvement through the rest of the season.

The situation in Jacksonville isn't all Mularkey's fault, but he is a major part of it. Owner Shad Khan will have to clean house in Jacksonville once again in order to return the Jags to relevancy.