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Bob Bratkowski, son of Georgia Bulldogs All-American QB Zeke Bratkowski, has agreed to join the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff as the new quarterbacks coach, the team announced via Twitter. Bratkowski was previously the Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2010 until being fired two weeks ago.
He guided Cincy to several of its best offensive seasons ever, though his past three years with the Bengals were less than impressive. Injuries could be blamed for some of that decline, as could the fact that we’re talking about the Cincinnati Bengals. Still, remember when Carson Palmer was awesome?
Bratkowski has also worked on the staffs of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, including a four-year stint as Seattle’s offensive coordinator under Dennis Erickson in the ‘90s. In Seattle, his offenses ranked in the league’s top 10 twice. He was also Erickson’s Miami Hurricanes OC from 1989 to 1991, reaching the top 16 in the nation all three years.
He’s never held a quarterbacks coach position before.
Mike Mularkey will be returning to the Atlanta Falcons as offensive coordinator for his third season, according to a report from The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt. Wyatt said the Titans reviewed the candidates (which also included Perry Fewell and Mike Heimerdinger) but are expected to promote offensive line coach Mike Muchak to replace Jeff Fisher as early as today.
Mularkey became a popular candidate after orchestrating a Falcons' offense that finished fifth in the league in points scored and established Roddy White as one of the game's best receivers. Mularkey had previously been head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2004 and 2005 but his 14-18 combined record wasn't deemed good enough to give him a third season.
This is good news for a Falcons team that had already lost their quarterbacks coach, Bill Musgrave, to the Minnesota Vikings. With Mularkey back for another season, the offense should be able to maintain the kind of consistency championship teams need from year to year.
The news that the Tennessee Titans had been given permission to interview Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for the head coaching job broke earlier this week. Now we know that interview will take place on Friday.
Pro Football Talk via The Tennesseean is quick to point out that all indications are the Titans will hire from within and the Mularkey interview is simply a formality. Of course, longshots have been hired before with an impressive interview so it's best to wait until the Titans make an official announcement before throwing your "Welcome Back to Atlanta, Mike" party.
Mularkey was a candidate for the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos head coaching jobs in January (though he withdrew his name with the Broncos) and has a career 14-18 record as head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2004 and 2005.
You know that part in every scary movie when the star hears a strange sound and slowly creeps towards the closet door? The music increases in intensity with every step. Your heart is in your throat as they reach for the handle and THROW OPEN THE DOOR! The music cresendos and everybody jumps. Nothing. The closet is empty. The scare is over. Then out of nowhere, THE KILLER IS UNDER THE BED! This is called the secondary scare and it's what just happened to the Atlanta Falcons with the news that Mike Mularkey has been granted permission to interview for the Tennessee Titans head coaching job.
The Falcons thought they dodged a bullet when the two jobs Mularkey was a candidate for (Broncos and Browns) both filled their vacancies before the Falcons playoff run had ended. Even when Bill Musgrave signed on as the Vikings offensive coordinator the Falcons at least had Mularkey to keep the offensive coaching staff from complete disarray but disarray could be right around the corner if Mularkey wows the brass in Tennessee.
Of course, he'll have some competition. The Tennsseean reports former Falcons head coach and Mike Vick interviewer extraordinaire, Jim Mora Jr. has shown interest while Adam Schefter said current Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams are also interested in coaching Chris Johnson in 2011. Later, Schefter said Williams withdrew his name from consideration because of his loyalty to Jeff Fisher and the Saints.
However it shakes out, I'm sure one Matt Ryan is following the news closely as he's already lost his quarterbacks coach and may be facing next season with a new offensive coordinator.
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is the subject of an interview request by the Tennessee Titans, according to Chris Mortensen. The Falcons approved Tennessee’s request, though no word on when or if Mularkey will interview.
The Titans recently fired longtime coach Jeff Fisher after 17 seasons. A handful of names have been mentioned, including Mike Munchak, Mike Heimerdinger, and Ray Sherman.
Mularkey has been a hot coaching prospect since the regular season ended, turning down an interview with the Broncos before interviewing with the Browns, both during the playoffs. Anyone looking for a head coach over the weekend surely caught Mularkey’s players dominating the Pro Bowl, as Matt Ryan, Tony Gonzalez, and Ovie Mughelli all scored touchdowns.
Mularkey to Tennessee would mean the Falcons would need to rebuild half their coaching staff minus the one coach who weathered the previous overhaul, Bill Musgrave. The former Falcons assistant accepted a job as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator a couple weeks ago.
Jim Zorn was fired today by the Baltimore Ravens after one year as the team’s quarterbacks coach. You may remember him from his previous role as the overmanned Washington Redskins head coach, or coaching stops at Seattle or Detroit, his college coaching days (including pre-Boise State Boise State), or his journeyman NFL career.
However you know Jim Zorn, you also know this: the Atlanta Falcons need a quarterbacks coach. Bill Musgrave has moved along, taking the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator job. While it would not be thrilling to take on a coach who’d just been fired from the same position, he is, in fact, a potential option. (Is “potential option” redundant? It seems redundant.)
The Ravens offense never got off the ground this season despite adding Anquan Boldin, but it’s hard to say how much of that can be pinned on Zorn. Ravens QB Joe Flacco had the best year of his career virtually across the board, posting career bests in yards per attempt, touchdowns, interceptions, and yards, and falling just a hair short of his personal best completion percentage.
Could Zorn be a scapegoat for Baltimore’s mediocre offense?
Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach has agreed to become the next Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, according to Chris Mortensen. This sharply contradicts a report by Jason La Canfora that Musgrave was headed to the Cleveland Browns, so it’s hard to know what to believe right now.
Mortensen says Musgrave was “pursued heavily” by the Browns, but that the Browns couldn’t top the Vikings.
If he’s off to Minnesota, Musgrave will have one of the NFL’s most intriguing quarterback situations to oversee. Minus Brett Favre, the Vikings depth chart is reduced to Joe Webb and Tarvaris Jackson, and there’s always the possibility of the team drafting a passer. Still it’ll be interesting to see what Musgrave can do with Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Adrian Peterson after spending time around Roddy White, Harry Douglas, and Jason Snelling.
Musgrave would report to Leslie Frazier, who’s beginning his first year as full-time head coach, on a staff that includes former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary.
Update: Make that the Minnesota Vikings, according to Chris Mortensen.
Change is afoot among the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff. And no, it's not who you think. Bill Musgrave is expected to be named offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, according to a report by Jason La Canfora. Musgrave served as quarterbacks coach for the Falcons since 2006 before being promoted to assistant head coach this past season. He'd previously been linked to the Minnesota Vikings coordinator position.
A change in the Falcons' coaching ranks was expected this offseason but the money was on Mike Mularkey leaving. Mularkey, the Falcons offensive coordinator since 2008, interviewed for the head coaching job in Cleveland but the team chose to go with former St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur instead.
Musgrave, who was the favorite for the Falcons coordinator job had Mularkey left, takes over an offense that ranked 29th in the league in 2010 but is only four years removed from a Top 10 offense and includes several talented pieces. Quarterback Colt McCoy, the Browns third round pick last season, will benefit from the tutelage of Musgrave and Peyton Hillis is a 24-year old wrecking ball who finished sixth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2010.
In Musgrave's previous stops as coordinator he has had mixed success. In 2000, he orchestrated a Carolina Panthers offense that finished 20th in the league. Then, after a two-year hiatus at the University of Virgina, Musgrave returned to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars to the 12th-best offense in the NFL. The following season, his offense ranked 21st.
How much of Matt Ryan's success was dependent on Musgrave or Mularkey is up for debate but 2011 will be a telling season now that Musgrave will be calling the plays for another young quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave is suddenly a hot offensive coordinator target. Chris Mortensen reports Musgrave is interviewing with the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings over the next two days for offensive coordinator jobs, and that the St. Louis Rams are looking to get in on this as well.
Falcons Nation (there is no fanbase that doesn’t sound hilarious when referred to as a nation) was largely fine with the prospects of losing Mike Mularkey to another team, but losing Musgrave would be a whole ‘nother story. Not only has Musgrave been mentioned by many as a possible successor to Mularkey, he’s also most responsible for one of the things about the Falcons offense that everybody can agree has been going well: the development of Matt Ryan.
Musgrave has coached since 1997 and has been with the Falcons since 2006, making him just about the longest-tenured Atlanta coach (anybody know whether he is or isn’t?). The assistant head coach tag was added to his title for the 2010 season.
The two teams confirmed to have scheduled interviews with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns, both hired head coaches today. The Browns grabbed St. Louis Rams OC Pat Shurmur, while the Broncos have brought on former Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox, according to executive vice president John Elway.
Fox’s last game as Panthers coach was against Mularkey’s Falcons, while Shurmur sounds like a shushed murmur, the most depressing noise anyone could ever utter.
Mularkey canceled his Broncos interview from last weekend, but was open to rescheduling once the Falcons are done with winning at football for the year. He didn’t cancel the Saturday Browns interview. Former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is reportedly a target if Mularkey does end up leaving. Very few — if any — more head coaching jobs are likely to open up.
In the event of offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey’s departure to take a head coaching job, the Atlanta Falcons are eying former Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels as a potential replacement. McDaniels was fired in the middle of a 3-9 2010 season after a decent start in 2009.
Mularkey interviewed with the Cleveland Browns this weekend, but hasn’t commented on how it went, other than to say he’s focused on the Falcons playoff run.
McDaniels is a New England Patriots product, as is Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. He was a position coach, assistant coach, and coordinator at various points from 2001 to 2008 before taking the Broncos job. Before McDaniels left the Pats, Belichick gave him a five-page document on producing a winning team, called “his bible,” and helped McDaniels prepare for head coaching interviews.
It did not work the first time, but it’s still around.
McDaniels is known as a hothead and got in trouble for failing to report a Broncos staffer’s videotaping of a 49ers practice.
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey will not interview with the Denver Broncos regarding their vacant head coaching position, the Associated Press reports. New executive vice president of football operations John Elway, via Twitter:
I respect the decision that Mike Mularkey has made to not interview with the Broncos at this time. I wish Coach Mularkey and the Atlanta Falcons the best of luck in the playoffs.
Super excited to have postseason well wishes from the guy who beat the Falcons in the team’s only Super Bowl appearance. He’s apparently not going to cancel his scheduled meeting with the Cleveland Browns.
According to the AP report, Mularkey will be willing to interview with the Broncos once the Falcons season is done. But interviewing with the Browns is fine. Listen, the mind of the Falcons fan has spent three years trying to figure out Mularkey. I’ve spent this whole season slowly coming to think of him as a genius, so who am I to judge what’s going on here?
With the news that the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has been given permission to talk to the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns about their head coaching vacancies it got me thinking. Yes, that does happen sometimes, Wisenheimer. Anyway, it got me thinking, would it be a bad thing if the Falcons lost him?
I know many, if not the majority, of Falcons fans have grown disenchanted with his vanilla playcalling and over-devotion to the run game as evidenced in the Saints loss earlier this season. I'd definitely like to see him use Harry Douglas in more packages and think Jason Snelling is underused especially as a pass catcher out of the backfield.
We've all seen the offensive series that begins with Michael Turner straight ahead, then switches to Turner straight ahead before finishing with Turner straight ahead. This season, the Falcons were 22nd in the league with only six pass plays of 40 yards or longer. Much of this could be attributed to Roddy White's knee injury in the second half but most of it rests on the playcalling.
He's certainly not kept the Inspector Gadget moniker her earned as offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh but then again, it's hard to argue with the success of a 13-3 team. My question is how much of that success is owed to Mularkey? For the answer let's ask our friends math and stats for some help.
Mularkey has been in charge of, or had control over, offenses for nine seasons. He began as OC for the Steelers from 2001-03 then was the head coach for Buffalo in 2004 and 2005. He was back as the OC for the Dolphins in 2006 before arriving in his current role as OC for the Falcons since 2008.
During those nine seasons, the average ranking of his offenses has been less than remarkable. Using yards gained, the best season Mularkey oversaw was his first season in 2001 with the Steelers' third-best offense. His worst season was in 2005 with the 28th-ranked Bills offense. His nine-year average is 16th. He's the Mayor of Middle -of -the-roadsville.
So he's an average OC with the potential to be great (three seasons in top 10) and the potential to be awful (four seasons in bottom 13). More puzzling is he's yet to show offensive improvement once he's arrived. His first season with a team is always his best season. Each subsequent year is worse than the last. So why are teams still interested in his offensive mind? Mularkey can turn offenses around. In all but one stop, his first season has improved upon the season prior to his arrival.
In 2000, the Steelers had the 18th-ranked offense. Mularkey arrived in 2001 and they finished third overall. In 2003, the Bills had the 30th-ranked offense. Mularkey brought his show to town and they finished 2004 as the 25th-ranked. In 2005, the Dolphins brought in Mularkey after finishing 14th in offense. Behind his tutelage, they finished 20th his first season. Finally, in 2007, the Falcons sported the 23rd-ranked offense and Mularkey instantly turned them into the sixth-best in the NFL. Four stops and an average improvement of eight spots in the season. Only with the Dolphins did Mularkey make things worse.
I think the Falcons are wise in letting Mularkey speak to other teams. You now know that he's a terrific first-year coach/coordinator but his playcalling gets old and defenses figure him out. It's also great for Mularkey because the Falcons' success allows him to get another crack at a head coaching job, something all motivated assistants crave. If Mularkey does leave, let's just hope Mike Smith doesn't have to look for another offensive coordinator until well after Feb. 6.
Minutes after the Denver Broncos announced their plans to interview Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey on Friday in Atlanta, NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reported the Cleveland Browns will also interview Mularkey for the same position. The Browns recently fired coach Eric Mangini.
Falcons fans who’ve expressed frustration with Mularkey’s extremely patient and focused attack: you’re about to see what this offense can do without him. Be careful what you wish for, I’d say. Personnel guys like Mike Holmgren think enough of Mularkey to interview him for a head coaching job, which should tell us something.
One of the biggest challenges to prolonged NFL success is in keeping a head coaching staff together, as winning attracts attention. The New England Patriots have succeeded despite becoming a coaching outlet (coincidentally, both the Broncos and Browns fired former Bill Belichick assistants before showing interest in Mularkey), but all signs do suggest Mike Smith will have to rebuild part of his staff this offseason.
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey will be interviewed by the Denver Broncos regarding Denver’s vacant head coaching position. The Broncos announced via Twitter the interview will occur on Friday in Atlanta.
There’s no telling if they’re likely to offer Mularkey the job, which was recently made available by the firing of Josh McDaniels. But teams don’t interview coaching candidates on a whim. Mularkey has previously said he’d like to be a head coach again, but that his current focus is on the Falcons and their playoff run.
The Broncos have reportedly also been interested in Stanford Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh, but so is everybody else. Falcons fans who’d like to see Mularkey hang around now have a reason to hope former Stanford QB John Elway can convince Harbaugh to visit Denver very soon.
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey told the AJC's D. Orlando Ledbetter he wasn't aware of an apparent Sunday NFL Countdown report that the Denver Broncos are interested in bringing aboard the Falcons coach. Mularkey would replace the recently fired Josh McDaniels, taking over an offense that includes Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, Knowshown Moreno, and Demaryius Thomas.
Though Mularkey admits he would like to be an NFL head coach again, the Broncos would have to have broken NFL rules to have (have have have) contacted Mularkey already. So it's feasible Mularkey actually didn't hear the rumor. I type about Atlanta sports all day long, and I hadn't heard it until yesterday evening.
Mularkey's power offense, which has made use of multi-role quarterbacks in the past, most notably Kordell Stewart's "Slash" period in Pittsburgh, would be an interesting fit for Tebow. Mularkey brought along Matt Ryan very well in Ryan's first year as a starter, though there was far more quarterbacky stuff to work with there. He's an extremely patient play-caller who isn't afraid to employ gadgetry -- both traits have earned him praise and criticism alike.
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