Mularkey was predictably optimistic on Wednesday when he was introduced as the new coach of the Jaguars, saying the team is close to ending its ways after four straight losing seasons, including a 5-11 mark this season.
"I think this team is very close, on the edge of being a consistent winner," Mularkey said. "I got a chance to see that on the Thursday night we played. I know the outcome of the game, but it was really just to see these guys, to be able to play like they did when they just had a coaching change. It would have been easy to fold."
Mularkey, formerly the offensive coordinator in Atlanta, was referring to the Falcons' 41-14 win over the Jaguars in Week 15. The Jaguars fought back to score two late touchdowns after trailing 41-0 during the third quarter.
"It's really important that you guys understand I'm here to put a winner on the field, a consistent winner," Mularkey said.
The integral part of that progress is quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft who struggled through much of his rookie season. Mularkey said he met with Gabbert for about an hour Wednesday morning to discuss offensive philosophy, and believes the rookie was "behind the eight-ball" this season because of the truncated offseason due to the NFL lockout.
Mularkey told Gabbert he would take the next step on his own because of the year of experience. But it's clear Mularkey -- who mentored quarterback Matt Ryan in Atlanta -- isn't comparing the progress of the quarterbacks.
"I told Blaine this morning there's no comparisons," Mularkey said. "That's not fair to him. He is his own person, he's going to be successful on his own."
Mularkey added that the offensive coordinator would call plays in his offense. That's currently Dirk Koetter, who NFL Networkâs Michael Lombardi reports is interviewing for the Alabama offensive coordinator position Wednesday and is the favorite for the job. Mularkey said he was scheduled to speak to defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, who served as the team's interim coach but is drawing interest from the Minnesota Vikings.