Jaguars fire Mularkey after team’s worst season

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JACKSONVILLE, FLA. (AP) - The more Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan watched his team play, the more he realized one thing:

“We needed a rebuild from the ground up,” Khan said.

So the Jaguars fired coach Mike Mularkey on Thursday after just one season, the worst in franchise history. The move came 10 days after Khan fired general manager Gene Smith.

Khan also introduced new GM David Caldwell on Thursday, and by parting ways with Mularkey, gave him a clean slate heading into 2013.

“I’ve always been a part of a winner,” said Caldwell, who signed a five-year deal. “I’ve never been a part of a losing team.”

But maybe the biggest news of the day came when Caldwell said New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, a Jacksonville native who starred at nearly Florida, is not in the team’s plans.

“I can’t imagine a scenario in which he’ll be a Jacksonville Jaguar _ even if he’s released,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell took slightly more time to decide on Mularkey.

Mularkey, who went 2-14 this season, became the eighth head coach fired since the end of the regular season. He looked like he would be one and done when Khan parted ways with Smith last week and gave Mularkey’s assistants permission to seek other jobs. Even though Khan ultimately hired Mularkey, Smith directed the coaching search last January that started and ended with the former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator.

“I felt like we needed a fresh start here,” Caldwell said. “Coming in here as a first-time general manager, I’m looking for a co-builder of our team. When I talked to Shad in terms of a culture change along the football side, I felt like it was more of that. I felt like it was an atmosphere of change. I felt like that to do that, you’ve got to have a fresh start across the board.”

Mularkey’s brief tenure _ he didn’t even last a year _ was filled with mistakes. His biggest one may have been his loyalty to Smith, who assembled a roster that lacked talent on both sides of the ball.

Mularkey probably stuck with Smith’s franchise quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, longer than he should have. And the coach’s insistence that the team was closer than outsiders thought and his strong stance that he had the roster to turn things around became comical as the losses mounted. The Jaguars lost eight games by at least 16 points, a staggering number of lopsided losses in a parity-filled league.

Mularkey would have been better served had he said publicly what he voiced privately: that the Jaguars didn’t have enough playmakers or a starting-caliber quarterback.

Instead, he never conceded that Jacksonville was a rebuilding project that needed time.

Now it is _ and Khan made that clear Thursday.

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