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A positive experience


So far, Mike Mularkey said he likes what's happening.

Mularkey, hired last Wednesday as the third permanent head coach of the Jaguars, on Tuesday night appeared with Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan and General Manager Gene Smith at the Ready to Rise Rally at EverBank Field.

Mularkey, who said he was amazed at the turnout of 6,789 for the event, took time afterward to talk to the media about several matters, including the hiring of a coaching staff.

That, Mularkey said, is a critical process – and one that's going well.

"I feel very good about our staff," Mularkey said. "We've talked to a number of candidates – all great coaches and great people. We're trying to go through the process and do it the right way. It has been a good experience for all of us.

"We're hard at it. From the first thing in the morning until at night, we're going at it."

Smith said the early days working with Mularkey putting together the staff have been positive.

"He's a genuine guy," Smith said. "He's very good to work with because he's open-minded. He has sound thoughts when it comes to football. He has a lot of integrity. Once you meet his family and talk to colleagues that have worked with him, you get the sense of who he is.

"From my end, it's been a very easy transition, him coming in, us talking football, and trying to put a staff together."

Mularkey at the event introduced several members of the coaching staff, including assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, defensive line coach Joe Cullen, linebackers coach Mark Duffner, defensive assistant Brandon Blaney and special teams assistant Craig Aukerman. All five were on the Jaguars' staff last season.

Mularkey, who spent the last four seasons as the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator, also last week hired Bob Bratkowski as offensive coordinator. He served as quarterbacks coach under Mularkey in  Atlanta last season.

"It's a great night," Mularkey said. "It's a great start. This has been an exciting week, with everything that has happened. This is icing on the cake, to have this number of people come out here, join and welcome part of the staff. This is a rebirth of the Jaguars and it's exciting."

Mularkey said while he played in the NFL for nine seasons and has coached the past 18 seasons, he never had seen an event such as the one at EverBank Tuesday night.

"I told Shad, 'Being new into the league you ought to keep a folder of firsts,''' he said. "He's going to see some things, being new in the NFL. This is certainly one of them. This is a great thing for him, the organization and the community."

Also Monday:

*Mularkey said while former Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell is among the candidates for the wide receivers coaching position, "we're interviewing a number of candidates at each position just to make sure when all is said and done we've done our due diligence." Mularkey said he still plans to interview one more candidate at the position. "It's really a process we're going through," Mularkey said. Fans chanted McCardell's name during the rally and one fan asked Mularkey about the possibility of McCardell – who played for the Jaguars from 1996-2001 – being hired.

*Smith, who has been with the Jaguars since 1994, said of McCardell, "He did a nice job (in the interview). Obviously, the fans are like me – they know him well. He's a guy I always thought could be a coach or a scout. He's a tremendous person. He always worked at his craft. He's someone who can certainly develop other players, because he did it here. As a veteran, he always worked with young players. Ultimately, it's Mike's call, but he knows my feeling and he obviously knows the fans' feelings. Let's just see where it goes."

*Mularkey said with openings remaining at wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, defensive backs and special teams positions, some candidates may be working for teams still in the postseason.

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