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Thoughts on Mike Mularkey hire

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During the four years that Mike Mularkey was the offensive coordinator for the Falcons, the team scored 382 points more than the Jaguars. The 2011 Falcons set a franchise record for offensive yardage in a season. Despite all this, Falcons fans were almost unanimous in their excitement to see the offensive coordinator that presided over this offense leave the team.

Apparently, Mularkey was to blame for losses in the first round of the playoffs for the Falcons in three of the last four years. Most recently, he was the scapegoat for the fans after the Falcons were only able to score two points on the Giants and were eliminated from the playoffs.

Perhaps, Mularkey was to blame and his stale offense cost the Falcons a potential Super Bowl run, or perhaps, and more likely in my eyes, the Falcons fans are in denial that they are rooting for a team that chokes in big games annually.

The Falcons offense was unable to convert on two 4th & one attempts and were stopped for a loss on a 3rd & one. Maybe I'd consider blaming the play caller if he decided to go with a double reverse or something cutesy, but that wasn't the case. Two of the three plays consisted of Matt Ryan sneak attempts and one was a Michael Turner power run up the middle.

None of the plays worked. Mularkey was to blame for an offense that, as a unit, couldn't get a single yard on three attempts. His quarterback, Matt Ryan, who posted a 92.2 quarterback rating for the 2011 season and threw the 6th most touchdowns in the NFL, finished the game against the Giants with a 71.1 rating and zero touchdown passes.

So unless Mularkey decided to change his offensive philosophy for the playoffs, I find it difficult to believe that he is to blame for an offense scoring 25 points a game during the regular season and looking entirely inept in the postseason.

But with an offensive coordinator that will reportedly take over the play calling duties, I'm really not that concerned with the plays he called in Atlanta. What's much more important to me is the development players made under his tutelage. It's difficult to know what a player like Matt Ryan would be like had he never been coached by Mularkey, but by all accounts he's a better player because of it.

If Mularkey can find similar success grooming Blaine Gabbert then it will be a good hire for the Jaguars. If not and Gabbert fails as a quarterback in Jacksonville, it wouldn't be all that surprising to see Mularkey's, Gabbert's and Gene Smith's times all come to a close with the team.