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Tucker was the interim coach for the final five games of this season, but it became evident early in the coaching search that the Jaguars wanted an offensive-minded leader to change the direction of a franchise that has missed the playoffs 10 times in the last 12 years.

“This is a passing league. This is a quarterback league,” Khan said last month. “If you are not doing those, you’re not going to be successful. I care about playing winning football. What is winning football today? It’s a quarterback, it’s a passing game.”

The Jaguars went 5-11 this season, one of the most tumultuous years in franchise history.

Jacksonville released starting quarterback David Garrard five days before the opener, switched QBs again two weeks later and matched the worst start in franchise history (1-5). Then-owner Wayne Weaver fired coach Jack Del Rio on the same late November day that he announced he was selling the team to Khan for $770 million.

The Jaguars went 2-3 under Tucker, not enough for him to get the full-time job.

Nonetheless, Tucker was among the candidates interviewed. Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer also were considered. Denver’s Mike McCoy also was expected to be interviewed, but Mularkey took the job Tuesday.

Mularkey has some building blocks in place.

Jones-Drew bounced back from a knee injury in 2010 to break the franchise’s single-season rushing record with 1,606 yards, which also led the league. Only three others since 1978 _ New Orleans’ George Rogers in 1981, Los Angeles’ Eric Dickerson in 1986 and Baltimore’s Jamal Lewis in 2003 _ won the rushing title on a team ranked last in passing.

Jones-Drew finished with 1,980 yards from scrimmage, second in the league behind Baltimore’s Ray Rice, and accounted for 47.7 percent of Jacksonville’s offense.

But in a passing league, the Jaguars realize they need to have Gabbert better prepared to handle the most important position in football. They’ll also have to get Lewis back to Pro Bowl form.

A first-round pick in 2006, Lewis had 58 catches for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2010 and was rewarded with a five-year, $35 million contract that included $17 million guaranteed. But he had 39 receptions for a team-high 460 yards this season, including just two catches in the red zone and no scores.