Cleveland Browns

Could Mike Mularkey be the next offensive coordinator of the Browns?

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans

Dec 6, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans interim head coach Mike Mularkey looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, Hue Jackson made changes to the offensive side of his coaching staff but left the offensive coordinator position vacant as he’s done his first two seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Browns as he’s handled the play calling.

He did interview Texans quarterback coach Sean Ryan last week but as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported, Jackson will not give up play calling duties to a first time offensive coordinator so Ryan left Cleveland without a deal.

However, an experienced play caller became available on Monday that may interest Hue Jackson.

The Tennessee Titans parted ways with head coach Mike Mularkey after three seasons and a 20-21 record including 9-7 this past season with an appearance in the divisional round before losing to the New England Patriots on Saturday.

Cabot reports that Cleveland has Mularkey on their radar to be offensive coordinator and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said Cleveland always had interest if he ever became available.

Mularkey has a ton of experience as an offensive coordinator spending time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons as the offensive play caller.

He did not call the plays during his time in Tennessee as he relayed that to former Browns wide receivers coach and interim head coach Terry Robiskie but when he does call plays, he’s had success in the National Football League.

In his eight seasons as coordinator, his teams have finished in the top ten four times in terms of yardage gained and five times in terms of points scored.

His offenses have been a “run heavy” scheme which would be a complete 180 from what Hue Jackson’s offense has been like.

In Pittsburgh, he leaned on Jerome Bettis and Amos Zereoue. In Atlanta, he leaned on Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood.

You know who benefited from the heavy running offense by Mularkey: the quarterback position.

In Pittsburgh, it made things easier for Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox to lead the offense and helped the Steelers to playoff appearances.

In Atlanta, it helped Matt Ryan as a rookie first round pick and the Falcons went to the playoffs two of Ryan’s first three seasons.

If I was Hue Jackson, I should strongly consider surrending play calling and the current offensive scheme to hire Mularkey as offensive coordinator as Mary Kay Cabot has reported he would do for the right person.

With the Browns having the first overall pick and more than likely drafting a quarterback, they need an offensive coordinator that can help slowly bring along a rookie quarterback and make him comfortable with a strong running game.

Hue Jackson didn’t do that with DeShone Kizer and it may have ruined the 21 year old’s confidence.

Now I know people will say the Browns don’t have a strong running game, well that may be true with Isaiah Crowell leaving in free agency and Duke Johnson’s size not being the most durable for a running back but help could be on the way in the draft.

Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is a projected top 5 pick and some have said he’s the best running back prospect to come out since Adrian Peterson since 2007 which is saying something considering Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette have all been highly rated prospects and top ten picks in each of the last three drafts.

Mularkey could covet a back like Barkley which the Browns could select with the first or fourth overall pick come April’s NFL Draft.

If Hue Jackson wants to stick around and turn the franchise in the right direction, then he should strongly consider hiring Mularkey.

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