The Jacksonville Jaguars hired Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey as head coach last night, a move they hope will help improve the league’s worst offense.
The team plans to introduce Mularkey at a news conference today.
Mularkey’s offense was shut out in a wild-card loss to the New York Giants Sunday. Nonetheless, his long relationship with Jaguars general manager Gene Smith made him a front-runner from the beginning of the search.
He previously was a head coach with Buffalo, where he went 14-18 before being fired after the 2005 season. He has been Atlanta’s offensive coordinator since 2008, helping mentor quarterback Matt Ryan. The Jaguars hope he can do the same with Blaine Gabbert, who struggled in his first season.
New owner Shahid Khan made it clear he wanted an offensive-minded coach to turn around a franchise that has missed the playoffs 10 times in 12 years.
In another coaching move, the Raiders fired coach Hue Jackson after just one season at the helm in the first major move since Reggie McKenzie was hired as general manager.
The decision came four days after the team hired McKenzie following the death of longtime owner Al Davis in October. McKenzie was formally introduced yesterday.
The move marks a rapid fall for Jackson, who was in charge of personnel decisions and coaching after Davis died of heart failure Oct. 8.
Owner Mark Davis, Al’s son, made the decision to bring in McKenzie last week and gave him the authority over the coaching staff.
Davis also said yesterday it’s imperative the team get a new stadium and he has had discussions with groups in Los Angeles about returning the franchise to Southern California.
He has no plans to sell the franchise but wants to move the Raiders out of the outdated Oakland Coliseum. The team’s lease runs through the 2013 season.
Davis says CEO Amy Trask has talked with officials in Oakland and with the San Francisco 49ers about sharing a stadium in Santa Clara. He has talked to groups in Los Angeles but hasn’t received an offer he likes.
Philbin’s son dead
Police recovered the body of Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin’s son from an icy river in Oshkosh, Wis., and said they were trying to figure out how he died. Michael T. Philbin, 21, disappeared early Sunday and was reported missing that night. His body was recovered from the Fox River by divers Monday, but Oshkosh Police Chief Scott Greuel waited a day to release the name out of respect for the family’s privacy.
“We love Michael so much and will miss him dearly,’’ Joe Philbin said in statement released by the team. “He loved his family, friends and life. His memory will live on in the hearts and minds of all who knew him. We are appreciative of the prayers and the support of our family, friends and the Packers family.’’
News of Philbin’s death comes as the Packers prepare to host the Giants in an NFC playoff game Sunday. The team canceled players’ media availability Monday shortly before Philbin’s body was found.
It was unclear whether Joe Philbin will work with the team this week. Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Monday he has a contingency plan if Philbin needs time off but didn’t elaborate.
Shelmon steps down
Chargers offensive coordinator Clarence Shelmon has decided not to return next season. Shelmon spent 10 seasons with San Diego. He was offensive coordinator from 2007-2011, although head coach Norv Turner called the plays. The Chargers fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky Thursday and replaced him with linebackers coach John Pagano . . . Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer completed an interview for the Dolphins’ head coaching job. Former Titans coach Jeff Fisher interviewed for the job last week, and the Dolphins are waiting for him to choose between them and the Rams. The Dolphins earlier interviewed Philbin, Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub, and Todd Bowles, who was Miami’s interim coach for the final three games of the season after Tony Sparano was fired . . . The Rams are interviewing Lake Dawson of the Titans and Les Snead of the Falcons for their vacant GM position. Ryan Grigson of the Eagles interviewed Monday for the position. Grigson also reportedly has met with the Colts about their GM post. Dawson is vice president of operations with the Titans.
Veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason is retiring after 15 NFL seasons. The two-time Pro Bowl selection caught 943 career passes for 12,061 yards and 66 touchdowns. Mason, 37, spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, later playing six seasons for the Ravens. “I’m done,’’ Mason said. “I won’t be playing football. I only knew one way to play football, going all-out and having fun out there.’’ Cut by the Ravens before training camp in July, he was signed by the Jets and later traded to the Texans. Mason caught 19 passes for 170 yards this season. He plans to pursue a career in broadcasting and has appeared on NFL Network recently . . . Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin won a judgment of more than $280,000 in a lawsuit filed in Florida against his former agent. The case was filed last year in federal bankruptcy court in Tallahassee against Darrell Eugene Wills. In the meantime, Wills filed for bankruptcy. It’s not clear if Boldin will get any of the money . . . The Broncos’ overtime victory over the Steelers earned the highest television rating for a wild-card game in 18 years. Denver’s 29-23 win over Pittsburgh Sunday on CBS drew a 24.0 rating and 40 share. The network said that was the best since a 24.1/48 for Kansas City-Miami in 1994. The average of 42.4 million viewers was up 8 percent from last year’s Packers-Eagles matchup in the same slot - a game that at the time was the highest rated in the wild-card round in a dozen years.