Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times and Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports report that Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is drawing interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively, for their vacant head coaching positions. Mularkey has already interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the same gig there, and some sources indicate he will be the top candidate for that position.
Jason La Canfora of NFL.com reports that the Jacksonville Jaguars have requested permission from the Falcons to interview offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. According to reports, Mularkey is highly thought of by the Jaguars organization including current general manager Gene Smith. The Jaguars fired their head coach Jack Del Rio on November 29, the same day that it was announced that Shahid Khan had bought the team from owner Wayne Weaver.
Mularkey’s son, Patrick, is currently a scout for Jacksonville. Last off-season, Mularkey interviewed with both the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns for their vacant head coaching positions, and also declined an interview with the Denver Broncos.
Recapping news and headlines involving the Falcons from the week of June 5…
Falcons ahead on technology curve
Dan Pompei of the National Football Post writes that the Falcons are among a few teams that are now using iPads instead of conventional means of paper. He mentions Falcons head coach Mike Smith was seen using an iPad during the team’s pre-draft interviews that including a checklist of questions for each paper. Pompei also mentions that the Baltimore Ravens are giving their players their playbooks on iPads. (Source: Dan Pompei, National Football Post)
NCAA avoiding scheduling issues
A scheduling conflict between the Falcons and Georgia State has been resolved. Both teams play their home games in the Georgia Dome. Originally, the Georgia State Panthers had claimed the September 1 date back in February, hosting their season opener against Clark Atlanta, another local school. But when the NFL announced their schedules in April, the date was used for the Falcon’s final preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. But the matter has been cleared up with the Falcons holding the September 1 date, and the Panthers moving their game to September 2. Georgia State begins its second season for their new football program, having gone 6-5 in its inaugural season. (Source: Georgia State Sports)
There was no such scheduling conflict from other college football entities, when the BCS tentative scheduled secondary dates for the Sugar Bowl and BCS Championship Game in January due to the NFL lockout. The Falcons face the Saints in the Superdome on December 26 (a Monday Night), according to the current NFL schedule in Week 16. But it’s possible that games could be pushed back a week or two to avoid missing games. So the Sugar Bowl, which is tentatively scheduled for either Monday, January 2 or Tuesday, January 3. The title game is currently slate for Monday, January 9, but could be moved up to Saturday, January 7 or back to Tuesday, January 10 to get around. (Source: Brett Martel, Associated Press)
VanGorder among up and coming assistants
Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder makes Pete Prisco’s list of ten assistant coaches that could be strong candidates to have head coaching jobs come 2012. Writes Prisco:
The Falcons made some nice strides on defense last season. They went from 14th in points in 2009 to fifth last season. VanGorder is a big reason why. He makes the defensive calls, even though coach Mike Smith is a defense-oriented head coach. VanGorder brings a high-energy level to his style of coaching. He is loud, passionate and can be heard from across the practice field. If the Falcons can continue to improve on defense, and they make a Super Bowl run, VanGorder will get a look next year. He was a college head coach at Georgia Southern for a year, which will help.
Prisco also lists three former Falcons assistants, including Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis, who served in that same capacity for the Falcons from 1998 to 2006; Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who spent the last four seasons as the Falcons quarterback coach before taking the offer from Minnesota earlier this off-season; and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who was the Falcons defensive coordinator prior to VanGorder in 2007. (Source: Pete Prisco, CBS Sports)
The team announced late Friday night that former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski had agreed to become the Falcons new quarterbacks coach, replacing Bill Musgrave, who took over as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator last month.
Bratkowski, 55, spent ten seasons as the Bengals offensive coordinator, first joining the team in 2001. Prior to that he spent time as the wide receivers coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he shared time with current Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, who was then the Steelers tight ends coach. Prior to his stint in Pittsburgh, he was the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks for four seasons under Dennis Erickson, after three seasons as the receivers coach. Prior to that, he was an assistant at several colleges, serving as an offensive coordinator for the entirety of the 80s. Most prominently he served for three years at the University of Miami (1989-91), where he was part of two national championship teams under Erickson.
His father, Zeke, was an All-American quarterback at the University of Georgia before spending 15 seasons in the NFL, most notably as the backup to Bart Starr on the Vince Lombardi-led Packers of the 1960s.
Despite having little experience as a position coach for quarterbacks, his knowledge of Mularkey’s offense and stint tutoring Carson Palmer for the past 8 years in Cincinnati should allow him to help Matt Ryan, who is coming off a career year in 2010.
Jay Adams of Atlanta Falcons.com reports that the team has announced a three-year extension signed by Falcons head coach Mike Smith.
Smith was entering the last year on the original four-year deal he signed with the Falcons when they hired him prior to the 2008 season. In three years as the Falcons head coach, he has compiled a 33-15 record, with two playoff appearances and a division crown. A year ago, he became the first coach in the team’s 44-year history to record back to back winning seasons. And with last year’s 13-3 mark, he has extended that streak from two to three seasons. He is 17 wins away from passing Dan Reeves as the winningest coach in franchise history. Now he will have three more years to achieve such a mark.
The Falcons have been actively working to get general manager Thomas Dimitroff an extension as well according to reports.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that the Tennessee Titans have been granted permission to interview Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for their vacant head coaching position.
Mularkey interviewed last month for the Cleveland Browns gig, and was also on the Denver Broncos’ radar before declining to interview. The Falcons have already lost quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave to the Minnesota Vikings, and have yet to hire his replacement. Losing Mularkey to the Titans could be a huge loss for the Falcon offense.
Falcons quarterback coach Bill Musgrave joined the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff as the team’s new offensive coordinator.
Musgrave was believed to have the inside track to the same position with the Cleveland Browns, but opted to join the Vikings under new head coach Leslie Frazier. Musgrave joined the Falcons as quarterbacks coach in 2006, and added assistant head coach to his title last season.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC, a potential candidate to replace Musgrave as quarterbacks coach is Jeff Jagodzinski. Jagodzinski was an assistant coach, working with the offensive linemen on the Falcons staff in 2004-05, before joining the Green Bay Packers in 2006 as offensive coordinator. He then became head coach at Boston College in 2007, where he coached Matt Ryan. He was fired by Boston College after the 2008 season, spent the 2009 off-season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator before being fired prior to the start of the regular season. And then coached the Omaha Nighthawks in the United Football League this past year before being fired earlier this month.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that Falcons quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach Bill Musgrave is set to interview for vacant offensive coordinator positions with three teams: St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings, and the Cleveland Browns.
Per Mortensen, Musgrave is set to interview with the Browns today and the Vikings tomorrow. Musgrave has twice been an offensive coordinator at the NFL level, working in that role for the first four games of the 2000 season with the Carolina Panthers, as well as two years (2003-04) in Jacksonville. Musgrave also called plays for two seasons (2001-02) at the University of Virginia. He joined the Falcons staff as quarterbacks coach in 2006. He added assistant head coach to his title last season.
Per the ESPN report, Musgrave is regarded as a potential successor to current offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey here in Atlanta. Mularkey is considered a head coaching candidate for the future, having interviewed with the Cleveland Browns earlier this month. There are currently no head coaching vacancies in the NFL, but Mularkey could likely be a candidate next season.
ESPN reports that Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has been contacted by both the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos to interview for their vacant head coaching spots. Mularkey is set to interview with the Broncos on Friday and the Browns at an undisclosed time later this week as well. The Falcons are off this weekend due to a first round bye in the playoffs.
Mularkey has been the Falcons offensive coordinator the past three seasons and has been instrumental with the development of quarterback Matt Ryan. The Falcons offense ranks 5th in the league in scoring offense this year, and have two Top 10 finishes during Mularkey’s stint running the offense. He has previous experience, serving as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2004-05, where he compiled a 14-18 record.
This is not the first time that Mularkey has been on other NFL teams radars since he’s been the Falcons offensive coordinator. He turned down an opportunity to interview with the Detroit Lions two years ago.
The Falcons announced the hiring of Mark Collins as a defensive assistant. The move was reported by Jeff Hartsell of the Charleston Post and Courier on March 12. Collins was hired by The Citadel to be their defensive coordinator in February.
All of Collins previous coaching experience before joining the Falcons comes on the collegiate level. After graduating from East Tennessee State in 1998, he served as an assistant in a variety of roles until 2002. He worked with outside linebackers, defensive linemen, special teams, and defensive backs during his stint at ETSU. He served two years as an assistant at the University of Michigan before landing a job as the defensive coordinator of Elon University in 2005. He spent a year under head coach Brian VanGorder (and current Falcons defensive coordinator) as linebackers coach at Georgia Southern in 2006. He was a graduate assistant for the University of Georgia four two seasons after that before spending this past season coaching the safeties at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.