Jaguars land Falcons OC Mularkey for head-coaching job

The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired Mike Mularkey to be their coach, a move they hope will help improve the NFL's worst offense.

The team confirmed the move Tuesday night, shortly after league sources revealed it to NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora. The Jaguars plan to introduce Mularkey, who had been the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator, at a news conference Wednesday.

Mularkey's Falcons didn't manage any points on offense during Sunday's wild-card loss to the New York Giants. Nonetheless, his long relationship with Jaguars general manager Gene Smith made him a front-runner from the beginning of the search. Mularkey also has a son working for the team as a scouting assistant.

"Mike recognizes the challenge and opportunity before all of us, and that's to make the Jacksonville Jaguars one of the premier franchises in the National Football League, bar none," new team owner Shahid Khan said in a statement. "In simple terms, Mike is aiming high."

Mularkey previously was a head coach in Buffalo, where he went 14-18 before the Bills fired him after the 2005 season. He has been the Falcons' offensive coordinator since 2008, helping mentor quarterback Matt Ryan. The Jaguars hope he can do the same with their signal-caller, Blaine Gabbert, who struggled in his first NFL season.

"Everybody was ready for it to be done," Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis told The Associated Press. "For me, personally as an offensive guy, I feel like it's a good hire. We're going to get new schemes, a new offense and a fresh start. We were anxious to know what direction we were going to go in, ready to move on and start our new quest for a championship."

The hire comes less than one week after Khan officially took over the franchise. Khan made it clear he wanted an offensive-minded coach to turn around a franchise that has missed the playoffs 10 times in the last 12 years.

Interim coach Mel Tucker, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer also interviewed for the position. Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was expected to interview, too, but Mularkey was offered the job Tuesday.

The Jaguarsare in favor of retaining Tucker as defensive coordinator, team and league sources told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora. Tucker is drawing interest from the Vikings for their defensive coordinator position, according to league sources, and he was in Minnesota on Tuesday, but a deal hadn't been struck.

Numerous sources said the Falcons believed Mularkey had such a strong shot to land the Jaguars' head-coaching job that their front office was preparing contingency plans to replace him. Atlanta now has lost both coordinators, as defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder left Monday to take the same position at Auburn University.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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