Is Mularkey The Way To Go In Denver?


Black Monday wasn’t so doom and gloom for the Broncos. It’s almost a relief that this season, a 4-12 debacle, is over and done with. 

Eric Studesville and his assistant coaches will get interviews in the coming weeks, but don’t expect many to return. The Broncos announced today that they have already scheduled an interview with Falcons’ assistant coach, Mike Mularkey.

The 13-3 Falcons have a bye this week, and will resume play a week from Saturday as the top seed in the NFC which gives Mularkey plenty of time to prepare for an interview to be the head coach of an NFL team. Mularkey is the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, and was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2004-2005 when the team finished 9-7 (they have not finished better since).  He also spent eight seasons as an offensive assistant under Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh. 

Mularkey has had great success with quarterback Matt Ryan in Atlanta, but Mularkey is quite similar to offensive-minded prodigy – Josh McDaniels 

Mularkey has more experience in the league than McDaniels, but has not seen success as a head coach yet. The season after Mularkey went 9-7 in Buffalo, he led the team to a 5-11 record.

Just because a coach has success on one side of the ball shouldn’t automatically qualify him to be a head coach for an NFL team. Some coaches make better assistants than head coaches – make better Indians than Chiefs if you will.

Take today’s Chiefs. Charlie Wies and Romeo Crennel were the offensive and defensive coordinators for the Patriots when they won their three Super Bowl titles in a row. The two men branched off into head coaching positions, but didn’t have success. They reunited and joined the Chiefs to resume their original assistant positions, and the 10-6 Chiefs are now in the playoffs. Not bad for a team that went 4-12 just last season.   

If the Broncos are going to completely switch gears, which is what is needed at this point, then they may need to respect but ignore the McDaniels-like candidates.

With McDaniels’ offensive mind, he ignored the defensive side of the ball in the draft and in free agency. That’s part of the reason why the Broncos gave up 29.4 points per game (a league high), and were ranked 31st in rush defense and 25th in pass defense. It doesn’t matter that we had great players in the secondary. Without any pressure up front, it doesn’t matter who is covering in the secondary – they can only hold them for so long. The Broncos tied for the second fewest sacks in team history this season. The season-ending injury to Elvis Dumervil didn’t help, but someone else needed to step up. 

I would like to see the Broncos bring in a defensive-minded coach and a strong offensive coordinator.

While I’m sure that Mularkey is a great coach, I’m not sure if he is the right fit here in Denver.

What do you think?

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