As many expected, the Jacksonville Jaguars will need to look for a new head coach after firing Mike Mularkey.
New general manager Dave Caldwell, just hired on Wednesday, wasted no time in dismissing the head coach. The Jaguars confirmed the move on their official Twitter account:
Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell dismissed Mike Mularkey as head coach of the Jaguars today. #Jaguars— Jacksonville Jaguars (@jaguars) January 10, 2013
Mularkey spent only one season in Jacksonville, going 2-14 in 2012. The Jaguars looked quite poor at times, and there are many needs to address during this offseason.
With a high pick in the draft and a new general manager, the Jaguars have the opportunity to start anew and rebuild.
Working against them, though, is the fact that there are so many teams without head coaches. The likes of Bill Cowher, Bruce Arians, Jon Gruden, etc. are unlikely to come to a franchise that looks so far away from winning right now.
Here are three guys who could lead that project on the field and are a little more realistic for Jacksonville management to hire.
Jay Gruden, Cincinnati Bengals
Despite having the No. 2 overall pick, getting Jon Gruden is a bridge too far. His brother Jay, however, is a very good choice.
Gruden interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles already, so the Jags might be too far behind on this one (via FOX Sports). But as stated before, there are so many candidates that the Eagles could go for a sexier name.
He's spent the past few seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, building what has been a very dangerous offense led by A.J. Green and Andy Dalton.
What should be encouraging for the Jaguars is the progress that Dalton has been making in his two NFL seasons.
Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert has failed to live up to his full potential thus far. He's only in his second year, so it's too early to completely give up on him. Gruden might be able to go in there and get Gabbert on track, thus kick-starting the Jaguars' offense.
Greg Roman, San Francisco 49ers
The offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers, Greg Roman is another coordinator with a great offensive mind and plenty of experience on a quarterback project .
San Francisco is known for its very good defense, but its offense has turned the 49ers into one of the more complete teams in the NFL.
A few years ago, it was almost a universal opinion that Alex Smith was a dud and would never live up to the No. 1 selection. Then Smith turned around and became one of the more efficient QBs in the league before getting hurt this year.
Now, the solid play of the 49ers' offense has continued with Colin Kaepernick as the full-time starter.
Much like Gruden, Roman has the skills to handle a young quarterback, which would be invaluable to Gabbert and the Jaguars.
Perry Fewell, New York Giants
Should the Jaguars want to go the defensive route, Perry Fewell would be a great choice.
Fewell subbed in for Dick Jauron as the Buffalo Bills' interim head coach back in 2009, so he would come with a little experience in handling head-coaching duties.
He has also spent time in the Jaguars organization as the defensive backs coach from 1998-2002.
Under Fewell, the New York Giants' defense has dropped a little bit from when the unit was one of the best in the NFL. But it was also under Fewell that the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2011, so one poor season hasn't affected his stock too much from the perspective of NFL franchises.
Fewell has interviewed with many teams in the past about their head-coaching vacancies. For whatever reason, teams have chosen to go in a different direction.
If the Jaguars have a chance to grab him, they would be foolish to pass it up.