Since I live in Atlanta, my Sundays are reduced to watching Jaguars box scores and infrequent highlights of the game. However, I did get a chance to watch the Falcons on a regular basis. For the last few years, I would watch the Falcons offense and be perplexed at some of the plays they were running. Safe to say, I would get very frustrated with Mike Mularkey and his play calls. Therefore, when I heard his name being mentioned together with my beloved Jags, I was very skeptical and worried.
Then Gene pulled the trigger and hired him. At first glance, Mularkey has had an interesting coaching history. His relatively quick stint in Buffalo was certainly an eyebrow raiser. One of the first questions asked by Jags fan was whether or not he could learn from his previous mistakes and correct them. This topic was one of the first addressed by Mularkey as he tried to put that issue to rest. Although he was saying all the right things, I was still nervous about his ability to lead the team.
Since Mularkey has been hired, he has shown he can command the respect of his players and effectively run the team. Clearly he has a long way to go, since we have only finished OTA's, but he has already brought a positive influence into the organization and seems to have a strong relationship with the team. He is saying all the right things and making all the right moves to make this team a playoff contender. This team has all the talent necessary to make a playoff run, and I believe he has the leadership qualities to make it happen.
The most recent news coming out of the organization is that Mularkey decided to cancel the final OTA session and take the team to play paintball. As everyone knows, shooting people with a paintball gun is very thrilling(much better than bowling, Del Rio...) and shows the inner kid in Mularkey. I believe he has the humor and likability needed to compliment his seemingly serious demeanor. He has injected an excitement into the team that has been lacking for three or four years now and it really makes me excited. That, coupled with the Titans and Colts being "down" compared to the success they have experienced in the past, gives us a great chance at making a run to the playoffs.
All optimism aside, the Jaguars have no chance of being successful if Blaine Gabbert doesn't develop into an average QB in the NFL. If he can do his part to improve, then Mularkey is the only other major variable in the equation. As we creep closer to mini camp(which I completely agree with Alfie's post on Orlando), my skepticism of Mularkey is quickly disappearing. Barring any catastrophic implosions of team chemistry, I really like the direction this team is heading. We don't have a Santonio Holmes or Osi Umenyiora to provide distractions, just simply a united drive to bring fans to Everbank Field.