I think most of us Jaguar fans believe the Mularkey era must end and end mercifully right now. His hiring was a mistake that can be attributed to now former GM Gene Smith and he was never a good fit for the job in the first place. His hiring hinged on his promise to make Blaine Gabbert a quality NFL starter and at his most important tasked he failed, and failed horribly. All ties to our past record of failure and abysmal performance need to be cut and Shad needs to usher in a new birth for our franchise centering around a solid, dependable football guy in the front office i.e. Tom Gamble and an exciting new coach. So here are 8 names that would be great options for head coach and who also will generate fan excitement and buzz for 2013.
1) Bruce Arians - this choice is essentially a no brainer! He singlehandedly ran the Steelers offense and called plays for two Super Bowl winning teams. Because both Cowher and Tomlin were "defensive" coaches he was given complete control over his domain. The results speak for themselves as he developed Big Ben into an elite QB and built strong, dependable receiving cores despite high turnover through the years. He developed Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress, Heath Miller, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emanuel Sanders and he always seemed to work his magic with a patch work offensive line. Also, this year, his first say from the Steelers speaks volumes to his value to the frachise. The offense suffered mightily with his departure and the running game fell apart. The Steelers are 8-8 and out of the playoffs while his new team the Colts are 11-5 and the 5the seed in the AFC. Taking over a 1-3 Colts team lacking talent and playmakers and led by a rookie QB for a head coach battling leukemia is maybe the hardest job known to man. He took it in stride and led them on a 9-2 run. He is hands down the coach of the year and would make a great head coach for Jacksonville.
2) Jon Gruden- Gruden may be happy as a commentator but his success as a coach speaks for itself. He turned around a moribund Raiders franchise and completely reinvented Rich Gannon's failing career turning him into an MVP. He then took Tony Dungy's Tampa Bay team and led them to a Super Bowl victory with journeyman QB Brad Johnson at the helm. He continued to lead the Bucs to the playoffs even after turning over much of the roster for younger talent and going with the likes of Jeff Garcia and Brian Griese at QB. He knows offense, he's exciting and has a long history of working magic with middling Quarterbacks. He would instantly bring credibility with his ring and fire up the fan base.
3) Jeff Gundy- Gundy has a great track record making Oklahoma State a perennial National championship contender and his reputation as an innovator and great offensive play caller is second to none. He also developed Justin Blackmon into college football's best receiver and a 2 time Biletnikoff Award winner. His hiring would probably also bring back a familiar face in Jax, Todd Monken who was our previous receivers coach before receiving the promotion. Gundy's success at the college level doesn't guarantee NFL success but the recent string of college coaches making the successful jump to the NFL bodes well for his prospects as does the influx of new offensive prototypes springing up in Washington and Seattle. He would be a solid hire.
4) Bill Cowher- Cowher's long resume of success and Super Bowl championship speak for itself as does his hard nosed disciplined style of coaching. He would resemble Jacksonville's most successful coach Tom Coughlin and could restore the discipline and toughness that's been lacking in this team since Coughlin's departure. He would be an excellent choice. Only negative is that he may deman complete control and that may be a deal breaker.
5) Marty Schottenheimer- Marty Ball may not be a sexy hire and his age may be his biggest negative but he is a great football coach who has revived franchises with long histories of failure. He led both the Chiefs and the Browns to multiple AFC championships and led the Chargers to a 14-2 record and built one of the best teams in recent NFL memory. He is one of the winningest coaches in NFL history but his penchant for blowing big games has hurt his legacy. He would not be the trendy pick but he's a good coach and would draw a good staff.
6) Jay Gruden- Jon's brother has won everywhere he's gone. The AFL, the UFL, and now the NFL. The astounding success he's had with a rookie QB and rookie wide receiver on a team with the lowest payroll in the NFL speaks for his coaching acumen. He is a young up and comer and he turned down the a jaguars for an interview last year because he wanted to gain more experience as a coordinator before taking the next step. He would be a fresh hire and one that could complete transform our franchise's fortunes.
7) Greg Roman- Greg Roman has ties to Tom Gamble and comes from the Jim Harbaugh coaching tree. He had great success as offensive coordinator at Stanford developing Andrew Luck into the premier college QB and played a big role in bringing that program up from the basement of the PAC 12 to a dominant force in the conference. He did the same thing to a lackluster 49ers team and turned Alex Smith into a legitimate NFL starter. In fact, he built a dominant offensive line revived Frank Gore's flagging career in the process. He helped polish Colin Kaepernick and he may be able to develop Gabbert into the QB everyone hoped he'd be when we drafted him. Great, great choice.
8) Mike Holmgren- Another coach who would bring instant credibility with his Super Bowl ring and long record of success. His track record of unearthing young QB talent is second to none. He discovered Brett Favre, Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselback, and Aaron Brooks while in Green Bay and then took a long suffering Seattle frachise to the Super Bowl and made them a consistent winner. He would generate national buzz around the Jaguars and be the kind of big splash hire Khan wants to make.