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Meet Jaguars' New Coach, Mike Mularkey


Just a week after the Jacksonville Jaguars got a new owner, the team now has a new head coach. Following an extensive search process conducted by Jaguars GM Gene Smith, as well as Shahid Khan, the team's new owner, the Jaguars pulled the trigger and hired Mike Mularkey, former Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator.

Mularkey has been involved with the NFL for nearly three decades. He played tight end in the league from 1983 to 1991, and then took his first coaching job in 1994 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the club's tight-end coach.

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Mularkey served as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2003, where he helped developed Steelers' quarterback Kordell Stewart into a Pro Bowler. Mularkey became the head coach of the Bufallo Bills in 2004, and led them to a 9-7 record. Following a disappointing 2005 season, and club management changes, Mularkley resigned and joined the Miami Dolphins.

He's served as the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator since 2008. During Mularkey's tenure, the Falcons have had one of the top offenses in the NFL.

In Jacksonville, Mularkey will attempt to develop last year's first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert into a franchise quarterback, and turn around the Jaguars' offense, which ranked worst in the league last year.

Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, who served as interim coach following Jack Del Rio's midseason dismissal, will return. Tucker helped turn around the Jaguars' defense last year, which finished sixth in the league after ranking near the bottom in 2010. Tucker interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings but declined the team's offer, and decided to stay in Jacksonville. Several other assistant coaches will be returning as well, including the majority of the defensive staff. Offensive line coach Andy Heck will also return.

Taking over for outgoing offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is Bob Bratkowski, who previously worked alongside Mularkey in Atlanta as Matt Ryan's quarterback coach. Before working in Atlanta, Bratkowski was the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator for 10 seasons, guiding quarterback Carson Palmer and an explosive offense.

Mularkey, who has a good relationship with Jaguars' GM Gene Smith, already has Jaguar connections. His son, Patrick, has been a scout for the Jaguars since 2010. In Atlanta, Mularkey worked under head coach Mike Smith, who was previously the defensive coordinator of the Jaguars.

Mularkey, who was born in Miami and attended the University of Florida, described Jacksonville as a haven of sorts. He and his wife spent time in the city in recent offseasons and during the Falcons' bye weeks.

Media reactions to the hire have been mixed, as have fan reactions. Smith and Khan, however, believe Mularkey has the talent, leadership and demeanor to lead the Jaguars for years to come.

The Jaguars' new coach has been known around the league in recent years as an offensive guru of sorts. He favors a balanced offense with a strong running attack. The Jaguars expect to has success in 2012 with Gabbert entering his second season, and All Pro Maurice Jones-Drew returning after leading the NFL in rushing in 2011.

Mularkey's nickname, when he worked for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was "Inspector Gadget." He received this for his penchant for calling up trick or unorthodox plays, something the Jaguars haven't done much of in recent seasons.

It's unclear if former Jaguars' coach Jack Del Rio will coach in 2012. If he doesn't, the Jaguars will still be required to pay Del Rio the full amount of his contract for the season.

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