Seven NFL head coaches were fired on the day after the NFL regular season. Ten days later, another coach has lost his job.
Mike Mularkey has been let go by the Jacksonville Jaguars after just one season with the team. He led the club to a 2-14 record, tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the worst record in the NFL.
With 25 percent of the league firing their head coaches, there are several viable candidates to fill the position for Jacksonville. Even though the Jaguars have been one of the worst football teams over the past few years, they have a chance to land a coach that had a winning record in 2012.
Lovie Smith is a potential candidate to take over in Jacksonville. The Jaguars may seek a defensive coach to turn around the 29th ranked defense in the NFL. In 2012, Jacksonville allowed 27.8 points per contest.
Smith engineered the third-best defense in the NFL with the Chicago Bears in 2012. In his nine seasons with the club, the Bears were consistently among the best defensive units in the league.
Bruce Arians went 9-3 with the Indianapolis Colts in Chuck Pagano’s absence, and has become a top candidate for the current openings. He has never been a full-time head coach in the pros, but has coached in the league for over a decade.
Jacksonville also struggled on offense, averaging just 15.9 points per game. Blaine Gabbert has failed to find success in his two years in the league. As a former quarterbacks coach, Arians could help Gabbert, or another young quarterback, develop into quality starter. Arians's success with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck may be a key reason he accepts a coveted head coaching position.
If Smith and Arians don’t work out, the Jaguars could be in line to hire a coordinator.
Brian Schottenheimer might be the top candidate to join Jacksonville. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Schottenheimer is expected to be offered an interview.
Schottenheimer was previously considered for the position, but the team ultimately decided to hire Mularkey with the opening. He was the New York Jets offensive coordinator from 2006-2011, but took over the same position with the St. Louis Rams in 2012. Schottenheimer took over a Rams offense that was the worst in the league, and helped them increase their scoring average from 12.1 to 18.7 points per game.
Schefter also said a San Francisco 49ers coordinator could get the Jacksonville job. Greg Roman has led the 49ers offense for the past two seasons. He helped turn around Alex Smith’s career. Even after Colin Kaepernick took over as the team’s starter, San Francisco has still been successful.