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Falcons official takes time to discuss Browns position


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Falcons official takes time to discuss Browns position

By Nate Ulrich

Beacon Journal sports writer

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The Browns were not stood up Saturday. Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey made time for them.

Mularkey interviewed with the Browns for their head coaching vacancy Saturday in the Atlanta area, a team spokesman said. He is the second candidate known to have interviewed to replace coach Eric Mangini, who was fired Monday.

On Friday, St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur interviewed with the Browns at the team's headquarters in Berea. New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, 48, has an interview set up with the Browns for sometime next week, a league source said.

Mularkey, 49, was originally scheduled to interview with the Denver Broncos on Friday, but he canceled the meeting to prepare for the Falcons' divisional playoff game next week, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported. However, Mularkey kept his date with the Browns because they inquired first and he felt a sense of obligation, according to Schefter's report.

The Falcons won the NFC South and earned a first-round playoff bye. Therefore, the Browns had to interview Mularkey before the conclusion of this weekend's wildcard games, per NFL rules.

Browns President Mike Holmgren and General Manager Tom Heckert don't have strong ties to Mularkey like they do with Shurmur, 45, and other potential candidates. However, Bryan Wiedmeier, the Browns' executive vice president of business operations, worked for the Miami Dolphins for 29 years, so he's familiar with Mularkey, whose resume includes stints as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-03) and the Dolphins (2006).

Mularkey, a former tight end for the Minnesota Vikings and the Steelers, was also the head coach of the Buffalo Bills for two seasons (2004-05). He guided the Bills to records of 9-7 and 5-11.

Since becoming the Falcons' offensive coordinator in 2008, Mularkey has helped Matt Ryan develop into an elite quarterback. The Falcons had the 16th-ranked offense (15th passing, 12th rushing) in the NFL this past regular season. They also ranked fifth in points per game (25.9).

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I'm still undecided on MM. I have a feeling that we have been holding back these last couple of weeks. It's hard to argue with some of our stats but my biggest gripe is that we get a lead and try to run the clock too early and play not to lose. Lets hope he opens it up in the playoffs. If he does leave than who will be our OC. Daniels is the sexy pic, but Brady makes everyone look smart(Daniels,Wise,and Mangini. Maybe he's learned some humility cuz he comes across as arrogant and I've never seen anyone make a good team bad so fast. Plus it looks like he throws his boys under the bus to save his a$$. Nothing worse than putting it on the line for someone and then they don't get your back. The grass always looks greener and if MM doesn't become less predictable and we lose. No one will want to hire him anyway.

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