The Jaguars Have Fired Mike MularkeyS

The Jaguars' Mike Mularkey—who was the NFL's interim least-interesting head coach after Pat Shurmur's firing on Black Monday—finally got the axe today. Jacksonville had spent the days immediately after the season's end hunting for a new general manager, and they hired Atlanta's David Caldwell on Tuesday.

Caldwell evidently took a day to move into his office, to hang up family photos, lithographs, and the like, before he realized that last year's Jaguars were a particularly feckless 2-14 and that their coach needed to be fired. It wasn't Mularkey's fault that Maurice Jones-Drew missed almost all of the season, nor was it his fault that the Jaguars invested substantially in Blaine Gabbert, who is terrible. (Chad Henne was a slight upgrade over Gabbert when he took over midway through 2012, but not enough of one.) It was, however, something like Mularkey's fault that Jacksonville's defense stumbled from fifth in Football Outsiders' 2011 rankings to 28th in 2012. They played much better for interim head coach Mel Tucker than for back-to-being-defensive-coordinator-again Mel Tucker. And it was assuredly Mularkey's fault that the team looked like they had given up circa Week 9.

Mularkey should do well in whatever offensive coordinator job he winds up in next season. But he'll probably have to wait a while to become an NFL head coach again, with good reason. Meanwhile, the new owners in Jacksonville appear to be doing exciting things. Will their new coach fit this pattern? Ideally! But maybe they'll just punt on 2013 and make Tim Tebow player-coach. They've got options.