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Wednesday, January 11, 2012
In new coach, Khan sees smart over splash

By Paul Kuharsky

I’m hearing the grumbling: Uninspired retread. No pizzazz. A yawner.

Complain about Mike Mularkey as the Jaguars head coach if you like, but owner Shahid Khan said the hire wasn’t about splash, it was about smart and people will come to see the franchise smartly hired a smart coach.

Mularkey
Mularkey
Pitting “splash: against “smart” was smart of Khan.

He went further after the press conference with Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union.
“To me, it was after the splash are they going to be successful? When you start sobering up, how does it feel? That’s the key issue. After the binge, how do you feel? ...

"When Wayne (Weaver) announced he was selling, probably more than half [the fans on social media] said, ‘Oh my God, this is disaster. The team’s going to move. Who’s this guy coming in? Are we going to have beer in the stadium? Oh gee, it’s a Muslim.’ The social media was abuzz with that. That’s great if half thought it was good for the team being sold. We only have to work on the other half. This is just like that."

Seeing no clear, great candidate the Jaguars could get, I don’t think this is a bad hire. A lot of NFL people think Mularkey has a chance to be a good head coach in his second crack at the job he once held in Buffalo. The more I hear from Khan, the more I think the franchise is in good hands. That he lines up with general manager Gene Smith behind Mularkey speaks well of Mularkey, who will have sufficient time to show well for himself.

Mularkey’s time may have been running out in Atlanta after another postseason failure, but the Falcons are an established playoff contender.

If Mularkey’s able to do for Blaine Gabbert what he did for Matt Ryan, then it’ll be a good hire. The new coach said Gabbert’s a competitor and that though the lockout put the rookie in a tough spot, he saw some field command from him.

Command is too strong a word, but it’s well short of Mel Tucker calling the quarterback courageous late in the season in a clear case of overreaching to defend a player.

Mularkey is not going to be calling the plays, he said at his introduction. He’ll have an offensive coordinator doing that. But the Jaguars hired an offensive guy with the clear hope that he will oversee the design and installation of a scheme to maximize Gabbert’s game, while taking advantage of the quality run-game that’s in place.

In the Jaguars, Mularkey sees great potential.

“This is a team that's very close to making some things happen,” he said. “I'm here to make sure it does happen. …It's really important that you guys understand I'm here to put a winner on the field. A consistent winner."