The purveyor of all things exotic smash mouth, former Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, stopped by organized team activities Wednesday.
Here he is below having a good conversation with QB Matt Ryan.
Great eye from @bkfox5sports: @M_Ryan02 talking to his first NFL offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey -- most recently was @Titans head coach -- during yesterday's #Falcons OTA practice. pic.twitter.com/OCX63MgZZP— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) May 31, 2018
Well, well, well...what’s the story here?
It’s probably just old friends reconnecting. After all, Mularkey was the guy calling the plays in the first four seasons of Ryan’s career, and was in part responsible for helping groom the Mattural for his NFL career. It’s May, and things are kind of calm, so it’s entirely probable that this is just a fun little reunion during shirts-and-shorts practice.
If you’ll recall, current Falcons OC Steve Sarkisian started coming around the team in spring of 2016, and attended practices and meetings. He was with the Alabama Crimson Tide in the fall of 2016, but landed the coveted Falcons’ OC gig after Kyle Shanahan went to the Bay.
Mularkey is a well-respected veteran fresh off a stint with the Titans as their head coach where he all at once frustrated fans with his old school NFL offense and beat the Andy Reid Chiefs in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. His Falcons offenses were known for their strong ground game (Mularkey presided over all the good Michael Turner years), but the pass-happy offenses we’ve been used to in the Ryan era really didn’t come into play until Dirk Koetter.
The run game will be a point of emphasis for Atlanta this fall, and no one has ever accused a Mularkey offense of not running the ball well. So, what am I getting at?
Well, the team, hypothetically, could be feeling things out with Mularkey for a role in the coaching staff. They did just bring back a former Falcons offensive coordinator in Greg Knapp to coach the quarterbacks, and might want another veteran voice in the coaching room with the inexperienced-but-potential-laden Sarkisian calling the plays.
Mularkey is only 56, so he’s still got plenty of time left in his coaching career, and is, as of now, without a job. Is that about to change?
Before you start having hot flashes about that abysmal 2-point playoff performance in the Meadowlands that ended the Mularkey era of Falcons football, consider that if he is hired, probably as a Senior Analyst or something to that measure, it’d just be to help advise, not lead, the offensive game plan.
Some folks in the team anonymously reported last season they felt Sark’s process was a bit disorganized, so having veterans around who know how to properly scheme, and how to properly scheme against defenses, could only help Sark’s development. Plus, if Mularkey likes the area, and just wants to be around a team he’s familiar with this season, he could do a lot worse.
This might all be a load of hot nothing, but it’s summertime and Mike Mularkey talk is timeless.