For those who have missed the whole saga, here's a bulleted list of Jacksonville swaps and intrigue:
- Mike Mularkey becomes Jaguars head coach
- Dirk Koetter goes from Jax OC to Atlanta, for the same position
- Mike Mularkey hires Bob Bratkowski, Falcons' QB coach, for the same position
- Falcons have a level of interest in Jags' O-line coach Andy Heck...but he's staying
- Mike Smith wears teal pants to a press conference
Only one of those is actually made up, by the way.
This might not rise to the level of organizational incest, but there's a lot of swapping going on. It's not a secret to everybody that Smith came from Jacksonville, where he was the defensive coordinator, and that a couple of players have pinballed back and forth between the two organizations since that change. If you want examples, look no further than Mike Peterson and 2008 Falcons draft pick William Middleton, who wound up with the Jags.
So what's going on here? There's been a lot of sound and fury about the Falcons considering and hiring Jacksonville coaches, which is almost certainly a reaction to a brutally bad 2011 season. I can certainly understand that, and had the Falcons pulled both their coordinators out of the Jacksonville coaching family, I probably would be seeing a little red right now.
But in all honesty, this isn't a huge deal. Koetter is a well-regarded offensive mind at the NFL level, even if fans don't particularly like him. Same thing with Heck, who has coached some very successful units over the years. The way these coaches have flipped back and forth and Smitty's ties to Jacksonville are what make this unpleasant for those of us who really want to see the organization do something bold and different, and I get that.
It's also not all that rare. Nobody had a particular problem when Mike Nolan pulled in Joe Danna as his defensive backs coach, even though Danna worked under Nolan in Miami. Most coaches pull from a pool of guys they're comfortable with from stops in college and the pros. The Buccaneers' Greg Schiano just hired his former Rutgers offensive coordinator away from the Arizona Cardinals, where he was the wide receivers coach. If the Jaguars were a deeply dysfunctional organization whose coaches all wore eyepatches and had hooks for hands, it'd make me nervous. But they're just a team with one very bad year and a few mediocre ones over the last decade.
That said, I'd prefer if Heck was the last Jacksonville-related hire of the off-season for the Falcons, if he is indeed hired. So many eggs, one basket, that sort of thing.