One thing in the chaos of this offseason that has gone unnoticed or not really been covered much by the local media is the fact that Mularkey is doing a damned good job of staying even-keeled. I recall when he was hired, people said things like "he didn't win the press conference." Of course the last guy that won the press conference didn't win much else with any consistency. Mularkey wasn't the trendy hire, but I think he might be just what this team needs. Below is why I feel this way.
1- He’s a former player. He "gets it" in regards to the contract issues of MJD. He could inject himself into the situation, but frankly, all parties have been silent aside from Gene Smith's comments. In my view, by saying nothing aside from the glib, "we want all our guys here" or "the guys that are here are really putting the work in and grasping what we're doing" commands the respect of the players by way of not getting thrown under the bus publicly and having the HC not basically state that this is a one man team and the GM by keeping the disagreement as a singular message and allowing him to do his job as it pertains to personnel.
2- Former HC. He said early that one of his biggest regrets when he was an HC in Buffalo is he was so worried about the extraneous crap he tended to micromanage to the hilt. Can only worry about the things you can control.
3- Long time coordinator. Licked his wounds from the Buffalo deal, and kind of stayed under the radar as an OC, where he was a part of Atlanta’s greatest sustained success in franchise history. Seems to stay out of his coaches way and appears to be a master delegator. Also, he does not strike me as an egomaniac ala Fisher, Gruden or JDR.
4 – good rapport with GM and Owner (as far as we can see)
5- perfect situation here. Low profile coach in the most low profile market in the league.
So far in his short reign, (bear in mind the team has not even cracked the pads or tackled anyone yet) Mularkey has had a few fires both personally and professionally. Personally, his son getting arrested for drug possession in Chapel Hill. He closed ranks and the issue that could have blown up on him, even though his son is an adult. Folks still make comments about Andy Reid’s kids. I’ve heard very little on this since it broke. And Mularkey is 100% right, this is a personal, family issue. Maybe he's benefitting from a less combative local media, but I like to think there are some decent people out there. Call me naive.
He’s also had to deal with the Tebow deal, the comments about what the national media sees as the next great quarterback bust, Knighton’s incident, free agency and the draft, Blackmon’s incident (which I believe has been handled perfectly and probably only due to the fact that Blackmon is a rookie who has not signed his deal) Mularkey and Gene Smith acted like they answered a casting call for "a very special episode" of My 2 Dads the way they hammered the kid, embarrassed him by making him sit between the two during the presser, but said he was still part of the family and the ball was in his court to make this a positive.Let's give a little credit to Blackmon as well. He could have gone the Nick Fairley route and posted a lawyered up statement on his Facebook page, but he sat there at the presser and took the arrows. He has also done a few caravans as well.
That approach could not work with a vet. Finally this deal with MJD, which many feel will not go away soon. He’s saying the right things and from media accounts, the team has not looked this crisp in offseason workouts in a while. This has been an interesting offseason thusfar and the players haven’t even put on the pads yet!
In my view, Mularkey is doing things right thus far. He’s not dodging issues or questions, but rather just concerned with the things he can control. I think this approach resonates with the staff and players. As a fan, yeah, it may make for boring copy that a coach will not engage in controversy or make any damning comments about a player like JDR would. Maybe that will come in due time, but so far, Mularkey has really impressed me with his professionalism.