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Murlarkey's rise from failed TE coach to HC candidate

Mike Mularkey, who reportedly will interview for the Dolphins head coach job this week, gained a solid albeit unspectacular NFL reputation as the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator. The Fort Lauderdale-born former tight end parlayed that reputation into a job as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

It didn't go too well.

Yes, he did outstanding work his first season -- after an 0-4 start -- and rallied the team to a 9-7 finish. But his second season was dogged by QB problems, as neither JP Losman nor Kelly Holcomb could produce enough to keep the Bills from finishing 24th in the NFL on offense.

After that season, the Bills hired Marv Levy as the defacto general manager and he wasn't a big Mularkey fan. The coach "resigned" and was then hired by Nick Saban to be his offensive coordinator for the 2006 season.

That didn't go well, either. The Dolphins averaged 16.3 points per game that season. Miami scored 20 points or more in only six of 16 games that year. Miami was 20th in total offense. Mularkey's play-calling was questionable and Saban often threw him under the bus to the point Mularkey didn't exactly love his boss.

His next boss, Cam Cameron, kept Mularkey on the staff but demoted him to tight ends coach. That was short-lived also. Those Dolphins were 1-15 and obviously everyone failed. And pretty much everyone got canned.

When the Bill Parcells-Jeff Ireland administration took over, Mularkey was fired. He was dismissed on January 8, 2008 along with all the other assistants.

Mularkey went to Atlanta and immediately was credited with making Michael Turner a fine starting running back, turning Matt Ryan into a good starting quarterback and generally handling the tons of talent on the Atlanta offense well. Atlanta finished 10th in scoring in 2008, then 13th in 2009, then 5th in 2010 and seventh in 2011.

But ...

Is what Mularkey did in Atlanta truly worthy of making him a head coach?

Parcells and Ireland (before Sparano was hired) decided Mularkey should not be retained as an assistant but now Ireland and owner Stephen Ross have him on their head coach short list? He wasn't good enough to hire as the tight end coach four years ago but he deserves a head coach interview?

People around the NFL run hot and cold on Mularkey. Some like him for running a balanced offense. Some dislike him for running an offense that depends too much on talent and doesn't present enough updated looks and problems to defenses. I was not a big fan of his play-calling back in the day.

Mularkey, by the way, is free to interview with the Dolphins now because the Falcons were eliminated from the playoffs Sunday. The Falcons were crushed 24-2 by the Giants.

The Dolphins scored 17 points against the G-Men back in October with offensive talent not considered to be nearly as good as Atlanta's. The Falcons scored two points Sunday with better talent. In fact, Mularkey's offense was outscored by the Giants ... and his own defense.

Because Mularkey's offense was shut out.

After the game, some Falcons players were not too thrilled with Mularkey's approach or his play-calling that included two failed quarterback sneaks on fourth-and-1. There's this from Jason Cole's game story on YahooSports!

"Rather than challenge defenses with aggressive play-calling, Atlanta has played scared.

“We talked about trying to establish the running game because we didn’t think we could pass protect,” said Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, who was limited to five catches for 52 yards with a long of only 21 yards. “We played right into their hands. I mean, if they sack us every down and we can’t move the ball, OK. But let’s try.”

"White’s remarks echo private comments of several other players who have pointed at a disconnection who offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey’s approach. Numerous players believe Mularkey is too conservative, particularly in tense situations like the playoffs.

Or as one player put it: “Something has to be said to [coach] Mike [Smith] this offseason.”



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1st...curios indeed. Well said!

Is Rob Chudzinski on the short or long list?

Great, this will be the next loser we hire! I like the Winston Moss idea. How about we try and hire someone who had been associated with a winner. If we are looking at Buffalo outcasts, I'd take Perry Fuelle over Mularky any day.

I thought we'd have a new coach within a week after the regular season. I figured when they fired TS they had a couple of sure fire candidates lined up.

Wrong and wrong.

They are lost at sea. Dysfunctional and disorganized and worse, getting desperate. Watch all the other teams lock up a new HC while we flounder around with weaker candidates.

I can hear the announcement now... Dolfans, after a very careful and thorough search, we've come to realize the very best candidate was right here with us all along, Todd Bowles.

Everybody plus their brothers know that, Arrmandito. Even Ross and Ireland.

Ha!, Devils.

I'm not sure why this former Bills HC, Dolphins, Steelers, Falcons OC is being consedered for the current HC Dolpin job. Ross should hire the OC and DC who ended the season working for Todd Bowles. In other words hire who and what was working; HC TODD BOWLES.

Ugh! Mularky is the WORST! What the hell is wrong with this organization?!?!? Open your eyes! Why are we even interviewing this guy? Yeah, I can't wait for the Dolphins to get more conservative. That's exactly what we need. What a joke.

I don't know enough about Bowles to have an opinion one way or the other about him. However, this FO is intimately familiar with his work. If he is so good, why are they even interviewing born losers like Mularky?

Ever hear the expression, a bunch of mularkey? It's a fancy term for s h i t.

Mularkey straight smells!! If the Dolphins ever hired him, I would change teams!! 30 year fan gone like that!!

the regime is totally lost as usual. why are we wasting time with 2nd and 3rd tier candidates? mularkey interview tells me we lack vision and direction.

Hey, lay off Mularky. He can't help that he's full of it. Besides, he produced 2 points yesterday in a playoff game. No wait, that was the defense.

Ross, It amazes me how you really have no plan. You say you want a "young Shula", yet no one you have interviewed or have scheduled is YOUNG. You want an exciting pass offense, again no one you have interviewed brings that. how about you FOLLOW THE PLAN then interview someone who fits the mold.

Mek it simple, interview CHUD and MOSS!!!! (Young Shula), hire the best of the two and let's get focused on the draft. If you really want to hedge your bets, open the wallet and hire Both, one as HC the other as assistant HC and you have got insurrance and the two brightest, hotest YOUNG minds in the business.

I shouldn't be surprised that there choices suck, Mulkray are you kidding me ? How about Brad Childress. They don't want Billick or Marty Shottenheimer. Ross has the wrong people around him.

It is looking more and more like Todd Bowles will be our next head coach and to be perfectly honest with you, I'm okay with that. I think he has a chance to be a good one, didn't look like the job was too big for him. Bring back the staff, draft well and flip those three or four games that we could have won into wins. Jeff Fisher will regret not taking the dolphins job, Bradford is not a franchise QB and St. Louis does not have a talented roster. Teams that rely on the fact they play in a weak division never get by the good teams in the playoffs, more of the same for the rams and Fisher. I like what I saw down the stretch from our team and I will be optimistic this offseason as long as they don't screw up this coaching thing and hire Mularkey or Zimmer. Nice work by those two this week.

Mike Zimmer would be an excellent choice.

I agree with Few920. Bowles did a good job under tough circumstances give him a shot.

Why would this guy even be on the list?

Philpin is in!

I've been a looooooog time Dolphins fan for almost 30 years... I'm totally sick of this front office! It's a complete embarrassment to what once a proud franchise, one that was head above shoulders a franchise that others in league looked up to! I am sick to my stomach with this team. I could never root for another team as rooting for Miami is all I know however, I'm canceling my Sunday ticket next, and not making my normal annual trip down to put money in Steven Ross pocket. Oh and until Ireland is CANNED we will continue to spin our wheels. He's a joke of a GM! In my opinion he should have gone before Sparano. I've had it!!!

We are completely blowing this whole coaching search. Mike Malarkey? Are you fing kidding me? And why is Jeff Fisher all of the sudden such a great coach? The man had exactly SIX winning seasons with the greatest players ever to play for the Oilers/Titans!! His offense is Sparano lite, and he has a very comprable coaching record with Sparano. Why not let Bowles have the job? Keep him and Dabol, this team FINALLY has an exciting and wide open offense and all anyone can do is try and bring in a guy who will immediately ruin that{Fisher). Ross may be a good owner when it comes to spending his money, but he has ZERO football IQ and should consider some new advisors. Ireland is marginal at best, and is holding the entire organization back.

Hire Philbin
He is the only one that we interviewed worth the risk


Anyone notice that the Broncos are in the playoffs using the Parcells blue print? Strong defense, strong running game and a QB that doesn't make mistakes.

Mularkey.....we're seriously considering Mularkey as our next "big name" head coach?

No freaking way!

He has proven NOTHING!

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...its probably a DUCK!

Mularky sucks ,Zimmer is boring. With Ireland staying the smart thing would be to bring in former o.c. with SUCSESS like Philbin or Chud, and keep nolan's D. They should make a run at
Flynn to compete with Moore and get O line help in the draft. If you give Matt Moore the same amount of time that Brady has, it would do wonders. Watch the Patriots, that a##hole has all damn day to thow.

This would be the worst hire yet. This guy did NOTHING in Buffalo (I'm very familiar with his time there) and yesterday against the Giants was an EPIC fail. Two points? With all those weapons? He's lucky if he doesn't get fired in Atlanta for that shabby performance.

His players are right. He's conservative and lacks imagination. This would be a lousy hire. Way worse than Schottenheimer or anybody else you could come up with. One word for him.....BLAND.

With Mularkey, you can get an outsider to take a look at this offense, and share notes. You can also have a frame of reference as to... here is one guy who will give a good interview... that we won't give the job to... let's come up with some rules as to why someone else is better.

For Mularkey, he gets another HC interview, which is always good.

Atlanta has always had great O-Lines. I'm not surprised by his recent success. Good for him.

Nooooooooooo to mularky. next!

Ireland has got to be the biggest DOUCHE ever. First he's part of the front office that actually fired Mularkey. A few years later, he wants to interview the guy for a head coaching vacancy. Unreal. No wonder everyone is staying away from Miami. What a joke. God I wish I'd have Mark Cuban's cel number. I would call him and beg him to buy this team. I feel so bad for the Dolphins great like coach Shula, Mercury Morris, Manny Fernandez, Dan Marino, Mark Clayton and Mark Duper, etc etc... How sad.

No top tier coach, no QB in the draft, so much for the 2012 season. Let's just hope the Mayans are right.

Why the heck would the Dolphins want to recycle an average at best offensive coordinator who they themselves didn't want a couple years ago???? Now he's a candidate??? What the hell is going on down there????

Murlarkey interview has Ireland's finger prints all over it. Hope Ross has better sense.

And to think some people like Ireland. 3 words for you: GET A CLUE!

Should've fired Ireland not Sparano, Ross is an idiot

I remember Mularky for one thing as an offensive co-ordinator of the Dolphins. he called a halfback pass by Ronnie Brown for a do or die 2 point conversion to tie the game.

He's a putz. Then again, he may help us get the first overall pick next year and finally get us our franchise qb.

Sign him up.

Its just an interview....

Like they said after the much anticipated firing od Sporano...they said they the process would be exhaustive, wide-ranging, and complete....

I didn't like yesterday's Falcon performance anymore than the rest of you....but it was ONE GAME....and he was fired 4 years ago...not last week....

Has Belicheat ever been fired....

Didi he get another job...

Was he sucessful....after one of the weirdest hires in NFL history....remember...He was suppose to the jets HC....

I don't want Mularky either....and most likely he won't be the hire....if he is....He will have my support....

I heard the Pats are interviewing Tony Sparano to be an offensive assistant...Man, he'd love to come down to Miami and beat the crap out of Ireland & Ross next year with Belichick & Brady!

Form factor, the Broncos won with 315 yards passing.

And the Giants beat a better team simply because they had the better qb. You need to do two things in today's NFL - pass the ball and cause disruption in the other team's passing game.

Running the ball???? Who cares?

Armando will beat the drum for Fisher until he is hired elsewhere.....

and until that happens....NOBODY will be good enough....

Give Josh McDaniels the job.
If not he'll kick our butts next year with New England.

NH...what is an offensive assistant...and where did you here that....

Agreed on Ireland though. He is a major disease on this franchise.

Can't wait until they use a top 10 pick on a right tackle.

Next year, right guard.

We need an Offensive minded HC. I think Philbin is the guy.

kris....not sure about the title either, but I read it on the ESPN ticker on the bottom of the TV.

Get on the Bowles bandwagon!!

Hopefully the Drama queen (fisher) will make sihn on the dotted line with the Rams today....and we can get back to the Buisness of finding our next HC....

Peter King says "Expect a resolution of Fisher by Thursday".

Geez they like to stretch this stuff out....

Oh...thanks NH....it is a weird title...

I've got two words for this FO.
Todd Bowles!!

step 1: Hire Todd Bowles as HC
step 2: Keep Nolan as DC
step 3: Keep Daboll as OC
step 4: Draft a RT in round 1 or Blackmon if he's there
step 5: draft a TE in round 2
step 6: pick up a WR in FA.
Step 7: pick up an OLB and FS is Free Agency.

Stability is what we need.
then after a 9-7 season in 2012 go all out to get Barkley in 2013 and watch the superbowls come flowing in.

Craig M....

I expect Tuesday or wednesday.....

He the Drama Queen (fisher)has to make his announcement in the middle of the week...so it will be ALL ABOUT HIM.....

"the regime is totally lost as usual. why are we wasting time with 2nd and 3rd tier candidates? mularkey interview tells me we lack vision and direction."

The top tier coaches don't seem to want to coach here. They fired Sparano to give themselves a head start in the search, which doesn't seem to have benefited them at all. Todd Bowles kept the team playing hard after Sparano was let go, but Sparano had them playing hard too. Personally, I think it was stupid to get rid of him when they did. He went 0-7 and they kept him, but after turning the team around to win 4 out of 6 he was let go? I'm not so sure we will find ourselves in any better of a situation than last season. Man it has been a tough decade to be a Dolphins fan.

I the Drama Queen announced today....it would be a blip on the radar....

ESPN: Today the rams announce the hiring of Jeff Fisher....


Sporano is also being looked at by the Jets as an offensive coordinator of some type

"Parcells and Ireland (before Sparano was hired) decided Mularkey should not be retained as an assistant but now Ireland and owner Stephen Ross have him on their head coach short list? He wasn't good enough to hire as the tight end coach four years ago but he deserves a head coach interview?"

Ummmmm, do you STILL not realize Ireland is CLUELESS AS A GM? He is a TALENT SCOUT, NOT A GM!!!!! Parcells certainly fooled a bunch of you into beliving he was qualified.

No coach wants to coach for him. Potential FA's are turned off by him. Which means the biggest issue is Ross not seeing this for himself & making a change.

Franchise is stuck in neutral. We hire all kinds of Cowboy retreads, so Zimmer & Bowles are the perfect fit.

Something tells me that thes Sporano sightings are a favotr to Parcells....but maybe its just me.....

Ohio....you are correct, its the Jets who are seeking to hire Sparano.
I indicated it was the Pats, my bad.

Ohio....you are correct, its the Jets who are seeking to hire Sparano.
I indicated it was the Pats, my bad.

Posted by: NHFINSFAN | January 09, 2012 at 09:50 AM

As if the Jets oline wasn't bad enough as it was this year. Bring in Sparano to put the final nail in the coffin!


I would be happy if TS got another job, but I'd really prefer it not to be the stupid jets

I'd rather have Sparano then Mularkey. Wasnt he part of the 1-15 season? And his offense got ZERO pts yesterday despite more talent then the Dolphins have.

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