Mike Mularkey has begun to make his mark in Jacksonville. He has started a process of hiring assistants and coordinators that will shape the way the Jaguars will look for years to come. His coordinators, Tucker and Bratkowski, will affect the way the Jagaurs are seen across the league.
What we haven’t heard much of is how Gene Smith views the hirings done by Mularkey thus far. And that’s a good thing. When Smith first came to the Jaguars he had a mission to revamp the type of players the Jaguars acquired. He searched for high quality men who were committed to being good people as much as they were to being professional football players. When he had an opportunity to hire a head coach, he grabbed a guy he knew had a similar mind set. It shows.
Gene Smith hasn’t had to speak up or answer any tough questions about the coaching staff hirings because there haven’t been any issues. The talent that Mularkey is approaching tends to have years of experience either with the Jaguars (Joe Cullen comes back to the defensive line, as does Mel Tucker to coordinator duties) or elsewhere (Bratkowski served as Cincinnati’s offensiv coordinator for a decade). He knows that the coaches need to have respect both in themselves and of the players they coach. Beyond that, he knows it’s worth waiting for the right person for the job.
While the team will turn its attention to the draft very shortly, Mike Mularkey says that he isn’t in a rush to hire all of the coaches in a short window (probably before the senior bowl). Instead, he is willing to keep the door open for the right person as he works his way down the list of potential candidates. A list, from all reports, that has a deep depth of talent at almost open positions and with whom Mularkey has a good rapport.
Which seems to be almost everybody.
In a recent backing of Mike Mularkey, Mike Smith, Mularkey’s head coach in Atlanta, said that Mularkey will be very successful in Jacksonville. He cited many reasons for this, ranging from macrovision to a hard work ethic, but one aspect he did not mention (but is readily apparent) is the genuine good nature Mularkey has. There has yet to be a whisper of discontent from players he coached or from coaches he coached with. Most everyone he meets comes away charmed. While he may seem to be boring as hell when discussing coaching philosophies and how to lead a team, he is a charismatic man in discussions with coaches and players.
Hell, you must be to get offered a job midway through a job interview.
Moving forward, I can’t think of a better way to go through the process than to carefully evaluate what the team has when you arrive and what you need in order to progress. Mularkey is doing that. He’s patient. Taking his time to get things right.
We’re thankful he is!
– Luke N. Sims