This isn’t the first time Bob Bratkowski has undertaken the task of turning around one of the NFL’s worst offenses. In 2001, the Cincinnati Bengals hired him after ranking 29th in yards per game. Like the Jaguars of 2011, the 2000 Bengals were worst in the league in passing yards per game.
On paper, it appears to have no chance of succeeding. NFL teams generally don't create this kind of work environment because it's, well, too darn uncomfortable. But the Jaguars' new head coach, Mike Mularkey, and the man who preceded him on an interim basis, Mel Tucker, care little about perception. They did what was best for them and the Jaguars, deciding they were better off together than apart.
Jaguars general manager Gene Smith made one of the biggest decisions of his career in hiring head coach Mike Mularkey last week. But his next decisions on player personnel will prove even more significant for the future of the team and his own career. A good friend of mine has a favorite saying when it comes to the NFL: The guy buying the groceries is more important than the guy cooking dinner.
As days go, Mike Mularkey said the past few haven’t been bad at all. Mularkey, after interviewing for and receiving the Jaguars’ head coaching position Tuesday, was officially announced as the coach Wednesday. A day later, he began piecing together the coaching staff. If the first part of the week was memorable, he said Thursday was, too.
Mike Mularkey traded up, getting a top job with less talent as he went from offensive coordinator in Atlanta to coach in Jacksonville. His replacement with the Falcons is Dirk Koetter, who was the Jaguars' offensive coordinator. Koetter was a relatively hot prospect a year ago, interviewing for the Denver job that John Fox got, and coveted by St. Louis for an open offensive coordinator post.