Falcons OC Mularkey offers no details after Browns interview

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey doesn't know the Cleveland Browns' time frame for hiring a new coach following his recent interview with the team.

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey interviewed Saturday with Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert.
Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey interviewed Saturday with Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert. (Paul Spinelli/Associated Press)

That was about all Mularkey would acknowledge publicly about his candidacy in Cleveland. He interviewed Saturday with Browns team president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert.

"I'm going to move on from commenting about that," Mularkey said Sunday. "I'll move on to anything else you want to talk about."

Mularkey, who is helping the Falcons prepare for a home playoff game Saturday, hopes to become an NFL head coach for the second time. He had a 14-18 record with the Buffalo Bills in 2004 and 2005.

Mularkey canceled an interview with the Denver Broncos last week. He isn't sure if the Browns will request a second interview, but Mularkey was adamant that his primary focus is the Falcons' next game.

"I just know this has been very important to me," he said. "It's important to our team. I'm not sure when a decision is coming down."

NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi confirmed that St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, the first candidate to interview, is the Browns' front-runner.

In his first three seasons with Atlanta, Mularkey has helped quarterback Matt Ryan become a burgeoning star. Ryan was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2008 after the Falcons drafted him No. 3 overall.

Mularkey wouldn't discuss Cleveland's rookie quarterback, Colt McCoy, nor other Browns players, but he was eager to talk about Ryan's development.

"Well, he certainly can make a lot of people look good," Mularkey said. "He's a special player, and he helps everybody be better, including us as coaches."

Ryan isn't yet considered an equal of elite quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers, but Mularkey likes his signal-caller's growth alongside Roddy White, the NFL's leading receiver.

Ryan's performance on third down this season was impressive, leading the NFL with 1,336 passing yards and tying for second with 15 touchdowns.


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The Falcons claimed the No. 1 playoff seed and will be home next Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers, who held on to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 21-16 Sunday night.

The Falcons (13-3) have ranked 16th in total offense the past two years, but they improved eight spots this season to No. 5 in scoring and moved up seven spots to No. 10 in third-down efficiency.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.