Mike Mularkey has only been with the Jacksonville Jaguars for about a month, but that is not stopping him from envisioning success with the new era of the Jaguars franchise.
In an interview with Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union, Mularkey expressed great confidence in the coaching staff he has hired and for the Jaguars to have a quick turnaround in 2012 following a disappointing 2011 season.
“I think it’s going to work here. I really think it’s going to work now that I have this staff together,’’ Mularkey told Stellino. “This is an unbelievable bunch of people I hired. Great people, great coaches.”
The coaching staff that Mularkey assembled includes several familiar faces on the defensive side of the ball. One of the first decisions Mularkey made was to retain defensive coordinator Mel Tucker along with defensive line coach Joe Cullen and linebackers coach Mark Duffner. The defensive staff that worked with the Jaguars in 2011 was very instrumental in turning around a unit that ranked towards the bottom of the league in 2010.
Mularkey assembled a wealth of experience on the offensive coaching staff. His offensive staff includes two guys in Bob Bratkowski and Greg Olson that have previous experience as offensive coordinators and a well respected coach in Sylvester Croom who used to be a head coach in college. The biggest challenge for Mularkey and his offensive staff will be turning around a passing offense that ranked dead last in the NFL last year with rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert under center.
Mularkey is confident in the abilities of Gabbert to lead the Jaguars offense and thinks there is no reason not to expect the Jaguars to be competitive next season.
“I think every year you’ve got a chance,” he said. “A lot of things have to happen. You’ve got to stay healthy and you need some luck as well.”
Despite the 5-11 record last season, the Jaguars are not currently in a total rebuilding process like some of the other teams selecting in the top ten of this April’s NFL Draft. Jaguars general manager Gene Smith has already been building this roster for the past three seasons and new Jaguars owner Shahid Khan’s decision to keep Smith as his general manager is a sign that he believes that Smith is close to having this team ready to compete.
It will be up to Mularkey and his coaching staff to get the most out of the talent that they are provided with in 2012.