Those lucky Falcons: Mike Mularkey goes to Jacksonville

Double M leaves! Touchdown! (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Double M leaves! Touchdown! (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The Jacksonville Jaguars, for reasons unclear, have hired Mike Mularkey as head coach. That means the Atlanta Falcons lucked out. They’ve been spared having to fire him as offensive coordinator.

The belief here was that Double M, as he’s known, wasn’t going to be retained, but that’s not to say the decision would have been painless. The Falcons won a lot of (regular-season) games with Mularkey overseeing the offense, and it’s never easy to break a winning pattern even if you know the pattern needs breaking.

Moot point now, though. Mularkey is gone, same as defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. The Falcons have two key hires to make this offseason, and the offensive position is surely the more important. In the end, offensive failings undid this talented aggregation. The Falcons need to find a man who could make these glittering pieces more of a whole.

Mike Martz is a name that keeps surfacing, but I might look first to Rick Neuheisel, who was just fired as UCLA’s head coach but who’s an offensive man by trade and who worked as coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. That’s just a first look, though. There are a handful of good men out there whose addition would constitute an upgrade.

The Falcons, I say again, lucked out. A staleness had come over this coaching staff. That’s inevitable after four years together, and now the team gets to change on both offense and defense without having to fire anybody. Auburn and Jacksonville came calling at the right time, Jacksonville especially. Time now for Smitty and Thomas Dimitroff to make the most of this opportunity. Time to hire even better coordinators.

By Mark Bradley

465 comments Add your comment

Freddie Bee

January 11th, 2012
6:44 am

1st? Anyway, bring back Bill Musgrave

Tom Bianco

January 11th, 2012
6:44 am

BBQ MAN

January 11th, 2012
6:46 am

first………………. YES!!!!!!!

Mark Bradley

January 11th, 2012
6:47 am

Kudos to Freddie Bee, who’s the early bee.

louisville slugger

January 11th, 2012
6:48 am

Couldn’t agree more, I thought for sure that hanging zero offensive points on the Giants would dissuade anyone from hiring him…

Kane337

January 11th, 2012
6:51 am

Buddy Ryan for the defense. Dick Vermeil for the offense.

Marcus

January 11th, 2012
6:52 am

L’ville slugger,
I think JAX new owner was impressed with teh 40-burger we put on them on TNF. That said, if Mularkey is the QB developer that folks thinks he is, they already have the running game w/pocket Hercules.

Now we get to see TD and Smitty work some Management of Change for Personnel magic in picking reconstituted offensive and defensive staffs (depending on who stays/goes)

Dominic Hughes

January 11th, 2012
6:53 am

Hue Jackson should get an interview. If the Falcons could land Steve Spagnuolo as DC and Jackson as OC I’d be a very happy camper going into next season.

CT Falcon Fan

January 11th, 2012
6:53 am

Mark, I agree this is great timing. I’m still bitter over the NYG loss. I don’t understand how the Mora/Vick Falcons were able to win a playoff game…this group seems more stable and talented top to bottom. Finally, if we don’t get a playoff win next season, is Smitty done?

Fed Up

January 11th, 2012
6:54 am

Not only lucky Falcons, but lucky fans.Season tickets were not going to be renewed if Mularky had been retained.

CT Falcon Fan

January 11th, 2012
6:54 am

I’d love Spagnuolo too but he’s going to Philly.

Marcus

January 11th, 2012
6:56 am

MB,
Since we are throwing names at a dartboard (hopefully TD isn’t playing in this game *shudder*), how ’bout Jim Zorn for OC?

In fact, if we use the ‘Wade Phillips’ case as an example, run down the list of guys who were unsuccessful as head coaches, but da bomb as coordinators …… maybe that is just their stations in life … and we can reap the benefit.

You Know You

January 11th, 2012
6:58 am

Three easy steps:

1.Hue Jackson for offense.

2.Steve Spagnuolo for defense.

3.Start planning the parade.

Good luck in Jax Mike

January 11th, 2012
7:00 am

Too many people blame the OC for all of Falcons problems. I don’t see it that way. Players have to block, receivers have to catch,…, i.e, the team has to execute the play.

Good luck in Jax!

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Michael M.

January 11th, 2012
7:05 am

Good Byeeeeeeeeeeee !

RUDEDAWG

January 11th, 2012
7:05 am

Ok good! But who’s bringing in these players? Hence Decoud,D.Robinson,R.Edwards,pratice squad O-lineman,Owens,K.Beirman,Peirea or whatever his name is,Adkins, and Im sorry but the whole Brent Grimes is funny to me,he wouldn’t be my “STARTING CORNER”. Who else this Meir kid are you kidding me! To many jags on this team! “JAG”,JUST ANOTHER GUY! Im out!

ZACK

January 11th, 2012
7:05 am

HIP-HIP-HOORAY!!!! THIS NEWS JUST MADE MY DAY!

stodeman

January 11th, 2012
7:05 am

Maybe a change of scenary: New stadium with a retractable roof, open for most games. Georgia fans like their football outside. Maybe a new venue with this team is the part that’s missing.

Johnny U

January 11th, 2012
7:06 am

Now is the time to install an offense that does more than run between the tackles on first and second down. Good Luck MM.

Kane337

January 11th, 2012
7:07 am

Bring back Greg Knapp!

Samuel

January 11th, 2012
7:07 am

The fans got what they were clamoring for Mike Mularky and Vangorder gone. Now, Thomas Dimitroff don’t screw up this opportunity, don’t forget in your assesment that your’e competing against the Saints, Packers and the likes of the Eagles. Who all are pretty explosive teams. I would take a good look at Hugh Jackson who the Raiders let go.

Arthur Angry Blank

January 11th, 2012
7:07 am

I wont Let Thomas D, Mike Smith nor Rich Mckay. Make any more Decisions I will personnally hire an OC and DC . IM looking at Bill Parchells as OC and Mike Singletary as DC.

London Based Jacket

January 11th, 2012
7:09 am

Is Kirby Smart ready for the NFL?

You Know You

January 11th, 2012
7:12 am

Jackson as OC + Spags as DC = Parade in GA.

d.carter

January 11th, 2012
7:13 am

BOY! I WONDER WHAT EXCUSE THE MATTY ICE APOLOGIST WILL COME UP WITH NEXT YEAR NOW THAT (MM) IS GONE? HERE IS MY TOP 5 EXCUSES.

5. ITS MICHAEL TURNERS FAULT I MEAN HE ONLY HAD 1300 RUSHING YARDS!

4. THE SAME OLINE THAT HAS ALWAY SUXD STILL SUXS.

3. JOHN ABRAHAM IS OLD

2. WE MORTGAGED THE FUTURE FOR JULIO

1. MY DOG ATE IT!

THE BOTTOM LINE IS PEOPLE WE DIDNT SCORE ANY POINTS, ASIDE FROM THE 2 THE DEFENSE GAVE US….2

STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR THE 72 MILLION DOLLAR KING OF BACK TO BACK TO BACK WINNING SEASONS.
PERHAPS IF HE HAD MORE POCKET AWARENESS HE COULD CREATE MORE TIME AND PASSING LANES TO GO DOWN THE FIELD!

PERHAPS IF HE DIDNT HAVE SUCH HAPPY FEET HE COULD MAKE THE BACKSIDE READ.

UNTIL HE GETS THAT DEAR IN HEADLIGHTS LOOK OUT OF HIS EYES NOTHING WILL CHANGE

Frontman

January 11th, 2012
7:14 am

Please stop saying that the main problem with this team is the offense. Name 3 games in the last 4 years that the defense won. That being said, I want to see an OC who will use all the tools in the toolbox, be imaginative, and truly ATTACK the defenders at their weak points.

O'Brien

January 11th, 2012
7:15 am

Mark,

I I think Brian Billick wants to be a HC. ,That being said, do you think Billick would leave the booth to take the OC job, and work for his brother-in-law? That might get him back into coaching, and help him get a HC job later down the road if he turns our offense around.

I dont know much about Billick, but he was the OC in Minny when they had Culpepper and Randy Moss, and did win a SB in Baltimore.

Dominic Hughes

January 11th, 2012
7:15 am

The Falcons definitely need some changes on personnel too, but I do think coaching has been a factor in their failure to get the most out of the talent they already have on the roster. Look at Chris Houston, the good prospect CB who was run out of Atlanta as a bust, got picked up by the Lions and is thriving in their defense, with five picks this season.

Frontman

January 11th, 2012
7:18 am

The good news is that there are many good DCs available. Not sure about the OC market.

Satchmo

January 11th, 2012
7:18 am

Might be a trade off,Falcons get Del RIo for DC.

FalconDawg

January 11th, 2012
7:18 am

RUDEDAWG, I agree with the names you mentioned that should be gone except for Grimes. I use to have reservations about him, but that kid can cover and tackle, unlike Robinson, who is making the money of a shutdown corner, which he isn’t.

Gary O

January 11th, 2012
7:19 am

Samuel,

Hugh Jackson was just mentioned on the radio (790) too. I think he is worth looking into, because he has had success as a WR coach, I think he worked with Joe Flacco his rookie year (Flacco has since regressed imo), and his Raiders team was top 10 in offense.

Plus he did work for the Falcons, so there is some familiartiy there.

Frontman

January 11th, 2012
7:19 am

Dominic,
Chris Houston stinks. Detroit’s defense is awful.

FalconDawg

January 11th, 2012
7:20 am

Bill Parcells?!!! Who would want that jerk?

Frontman

January 11th, 2012
7:20 am

Rudedawg, if Brent Grimes wouldn’t start for you, you’re an idiot.

Falcons4Eva

January 11th, 2012
7:21 am

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

CONservative Johnson

January 11th, 2012
7:21 am

Freddie Bee, you are first and DEAD wrong. Bill Musgrave has been a TERRIBLE offensive coordinator every single time he has received a chance (Jacksonville, Falcons previous to his position as QB coach, Vikings).

Did the terrible Vikings offense this year (ranked 18th, 8 spots worse than ours) somehow make you pine for Bill Musgrave?

Falcons4Eva

January 11th, 2012
7:23 am

@ Kane337 —-

You should be STONED to death for that suggestion….(LOL)

jerry

January 11th, 2012
7:23 am

Hopefully, the new OC will instill a jet based offense and dump the present tank based offense. And dump “Tank Turner”.

Atlanta Native

January 11th, 2012
7:23 am

Only two days past the latest debacle and already two steps in the right direction. TD / MS get to save face for not having to fire anyone. Please use the “exhaustive” search process to bring in an OC who will use the players talents and a DC who will be aggressive.

Josh

January 11th, 2012
7:27 am

Having lived in Chicago this past year, the Bear fans up here hated Martz. He would make Turner obsolete. Not sure he’s the answer.

RUDEDAWG

January 11th, 2012
7:29 am

I said all that to say,that these so called scouts apparently can’t evalute players.

Dominic Hughes

January 11th, 2012
7:31 am

Frontman – ah, Houston had five picks in 14 games (try finding any Falcons not named Grimes who could do that) and was mentioned in dispatches as a Pro Bowl candidate. And we traded him away for peanuts. Sorry, can’t agree he stinks – and he’s not responsible for the entire Detroit defense.

HARDY DOG

January 11th, 2012
7:31 am

Christmas in January, how wonderful, NOW if the whole defensive team would disappear, then being a Falcon fan would be GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Bradley

January 11th, 2012
7:32 am

I’m always intrigued that people want to bring back guys who were here before — Bill Musgrave, Hue Jackson.

Marcus

January 11th, 2012
7:33 am

Whoever comes in will have talent to work with at skill positions … but maybe lacking (compared to other playoff teams) on the OL and DL. Our youth on both lines seemed to follow the DET model (mixing in an NBA analogy) as far as solid (inexpensive) players who aren’t superstars. Our developmental DEs (Beirmann, Sidbury, C. Matthews) haven’t developed and Abe is holding it down by his lonesome.
Our OL, with exception of holdovers prior to TD and the ‘Sam Baker’ experiment, have been mid-round developmental guys who brush off the DLs on bad teams but get exposed vs. elite competition. We HAVE to have them develop or we will be regressing.
We don’t have the draft picks in 2012 to acquire any elite upgrades at positions of need so if we make the playoffs with next years schedule (NFC East, rising CAR, and on-top NO), pencil me in for voting TD and Smitty as Exec/Coach of the Year candidates.

Nativebird

January 11th, 2012
7:34 am

Like everything that has been mismanaged with this team, we didn’t even get the satisfaction of firing the eminently and deservingly fire-able. And way too late….Josh mcdaniels WAS available just a few short weeks ago’ twice the OC that mularkey will ever be. Good riddance.

Getaway

January 11th, 2012
7:35 am

What has Hue Jackson done that gives anyone reason to think he’d be successful here? He is an unapolgetic Al Davis acolyte who traded their draft away for a player (Carson Palmer) that they didn’t know how to use.
If I was going after any coach in the Raider’s organization it would be Darren Perry their Secondary Coach. He has a knack for coaching up agressive secondary players. Still rolling dice on him as a DC.
I can appreciate going after an established OC (or former HC)with a reputation for being full-throttle and agressive. I was really hoping that San Diego was going to dump Norv Turner. Wouldn’t want him for HC, but he would be a great OC.

Falcons4Eva

January 11th, 2012
7:35 am

Lets not be nieve (sp) also….

This is a PR move to help re-energize the fan base to buy/renew season tickets. Arthur Blank is a screwed business man first and foremost. With the removal of both BVG and Mike Mularkey….I will renew my season tickets.