General manager searches ended for three teams this week, with the Cardinals hiring Steve Keim, the Chargers bringing aboard Tom Telesco yesterday, and the Jaguars hiring David Caldwell. Of those three, only Caldwell inherited a head coach, and one who was very much on unstable ground. Now that ground has collapsed.
Only 48 hours after he was hired, Caldwell has fired Mike Mularkey, according to the team’s official Twitter account.
Look, Mularkey’s team sucked, but realistically the failing of the Jaguars this season — Mularkey’s only season — was mostly a result of Blaine Gabbert’s continued attempt to be a professional quarterback. That swing and miss played a significant role in Caldwell’s employment, because it created an opening when now former GM Gene Smith was shown the streets. Much like Romeo Crennel and Ken Whisenhunt, the captain always goes down with the flaming ship, even if the task of piloting said ship was given to an incompetent quarterback. The quarterback situation doomed the front office in Jacksonville, which in turn doomed Mularkey. The new guy wants a new guy, and similar to San Diego where change will now take place after their GM hiring, a true shift in direction is forthcoming with Caldwell free to pursue a head coach who suits the personnel that he’ll also pursue.
Mularkey was also derailed by the Maurice Jones-Drew contract standoff throughout the offseason last year that dragged into training camp, and then his injury. His single year in Jacksonville as the head coach will be remembered much like his two years in Buffalo: mostly with failure due to a lack of quality personnel. But despite that lack of talent and luck, few coaches will survive a 2-14 season in which his team finishes 30th in yards allowed per game (380.5), and 29th in offensive yards per game (299.2), which the latter category especially damning for an offensive-minded coach who couldn’t develop Gabbert, and couldn’t bring along Justin Blackmon quicker.
So the carousel will keep spinning, and now the number of vacancies rises to six during this busy hiring period. At this pace, it’s likely there will still be at least a handful of holes still remaining during the Senior Bowl on Jan. 26, which is less than ideal.