As the Jaguars get ready to face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Mike Mularkey has to be feeling some trepidation. He may not be worried about going into his old home and facing his old team, but he knows that right now the Jaguars aren’t any better off than he left the Bills seven seasons ago.
The last winning season for the Bills came in Mularkey’s first year as head coach in Buffalo. Mularkey saved his team’s season, asked them to dig deep and went on a run to finish 9-7 in 2004. The next season was much less impressive. After a 5-11 finish in 2005 the Bills parted ways with Mularkey.
In 2012, Mularkey brings his new team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, into his old home to show that since leaving Buffalo he has matured as a coach.
The Jaguars stand two games behind the Bills at 2-9. They have no shot at the playoffs. Right now they are playing for pride. It may not be the most inspirational thing in the world, but right now they are playing for their jobs and for Mike Mularkey.
When Mularkey asked the Jaguars to dig three feet deeper last week the team responded and picked up its second win of the season. This week they are playing for the pride of their head coach as much as for themselves. They need to prove that this unit is better than the last one he was coaching.
Back in 2004 and 2005, Mularkey had Drew Bledsoe, J.P. Losman, and Kelly Holcomb all throwing passes for him. I’m a big Bledsoe fan, but in 2004 he wasn’t much better than Blaine Gabbert. He finished with under 3,000 yards and only four more touchdowns than interceptions. Yet the team went 9-7.
The Jaguars are a better unit than the ’05 and ’04 Bills. It’s time they played like it.
The Jacksonville Jaguars need to prove that under Mularkey they have made strides. They need to show that Mularkey’s abilities as a coach were not given enough time in Buffalo.
It may not happen or it may. We shall see.
If Mularkey’s Jaguars beat his old team I can see the Jags making a solid late-season stand. I can see a move in the right direction, like the Seahawks quietly did last season.
In Buffalo we will see if Mularkey can separate himself from his past and make sure that the Jaguars have a better future than the Bills.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims