SBD/January 11, 2013/Franchises

New Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell Fires Coach Mike Mularkey, Says No To Tim Tebow

Caldwell (l) fired Mularkey in part because he said the team needed a "fresh start"
New Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell has only been on the job two days, but made "two announcements Thursday that sent a ripple effect through the franchise and the region," according to Ryan O'Halloran of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The team announced coach Mike Mularkey "was being fired after a 2-14 record." Caldwell said, "I felt we needed a fresh start across the board." Caldwell also "closed the door" on the Jaguars acquiring Jets QB Tim Tebow via trade or free agency. Caldwell said, "I can't imagine a scenario where he is a Jacksonville Jaguar ... even if he is released." Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan said, "If you look at the team over the last several years, the team has really gotten worse. Mike will have great success, but our record was still 2-14 and regrettably, this is a league that demands winning.” Caldwell: "Coming in as a first-time general manager, I’m looking for a co-builder of this team and when I talked to Shad in terms of a culture change on the football side, I felt there needed to be an atmospheric change." Khan used the interview process to "get intelligence on how other organizations run their football business, chiefly the power structure." From that he "gleaned the coach reporting to the general manager instead of both reporting to the owner" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/11). In Jacksonville, Vito Stellino notes Khan was "asked what has changed about his interest in Tebow" since they nearly traded for him in March '11. Khan replied that he is "giving Caldwell free rein to make football decisions." Khan said, "Who the players are is really (up to) the general manager and coaches. It’s a football-side operation decision. It’s really not my decision. I’m telling them to take a look at Tebow and they’re saying we’re going to go in a different direction" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/11).

ON THE PROWL: NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal wrote the Jaguars "had to" dismiss Mularkey. Caldwell "had to [do] it." Hanging on to Mularkey to "give him a fair chance to turn things around sounds fair, but it wasn't right." The Jaguars "needed a fresh start." Mularkey was hired by former GM Gene Smith "who is long gone." Caldwell needs to "have the freedom to remake the organization in his image" (NFL.com, 1/10). In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote the "good news for Jaguars fans from the ongoing organizational shake-up is there now appears to be a clear, authoritative plan of action." Khan has "decided on a swift course of action for his team" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 1/11). Khan said that he "talked to about 100 people" during the GM search and "knew other teams would pursue Caldwell, but wasn't overly concerned." Khan said, "Frankly, with all due modesty, I think I did my homework better. People came to that conclusion a week later after they had talked to a lot of people." Khan said that he had a "specific game plan on what to do after firing Smith. Not by day, but by hour." Khan: “Like what I was going to do at 7 o’clock, 8 o’clock, 8:30, 9 and you plan. That’s how I plan every day" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/11).
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