Quitting the dysfunctional Bills might work out for Marrone, Mularkey

Quitting an NFL head coaching job isn’t usually a good career move.

Yet of the seven coaches who have departed the Buffalo Bills since Wade Phillips was fired after the 2000 season, only two now have head coaching jobs. And both quit the Bills after just two seasons  – Mike Mularkey after the 2005 season and Doug Marrone after the 2014 season.

The two men will face each other as head coaches for the first time Sunday since they both quit Buffalo when the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Tennessee Titans.

Another interesting twist to this saga is that Mularkey, the Titans coach, was fired by the Jaguars after one season in 2012.

And even though it’s only the second game of the season, it’s an important game for both teams — the winner could be in good position to win the AFC South.

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QB-less Texans’ continuing mediocrity is entirely their own fault

When the Houston Texans open the season Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it will likely be an emotional scene.

It will be the Texans’ first game since the city of Houston was devastated by the floods from Hurricane Harvey.

The Texans have already dedicated their season to Houston, and star J.J. Watt has done an amazing job of raising millions for the victims.

From a football standpoint, though, there’s another interesting storyline. Both teams have shown how it can take a team years to overcome a mistake at the quarterback position.

And both made a huge mistake in the 2014 draft when they both passed on Derek even though they both needed a quarterback.

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Bortles’ garbage-time stats are another damning indictment

“Blake Bortles is the Tom Brady of Garbage Time,’’ blared the headline on the fivethirtyeight.com website.

The site is noted for crunching the numbers on political issues, but also covers sports. And Michael Salvino studied the numbers on Blake Bortles, the fourth-year Jaguars quarterback, for the past two seasons.

It turns out he was the best quarterback in the league in garbage time the past two years. Garbage time is defined on being down by nine or more points with four minutes or fewer left.

There has been a perception that Bortles tends to put up meaningless numbers in garbage time and Salvino’s research shows it is true.

Bortles completed 78 of 118 passes for 964 yards and 12 touchdowns and just four picks with a passer rating of 111 in garbage time. Tom Brady, who barely even knows what garbage time in a loss feels like, had a 112 passer rating for the season last year.

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As the only team with a quality (healthy) QB, Titans sitting pretty in AFC South

It’s usually not noteworthy when a quarterback completes two of three passes for 15 yards and runs for six yards in the first preseason game.

But it was significant for the Tennessee Titans and the AFC South when Marcus Mariota made his preseason debut against the New York Jets last week.

That’s because Mariota showed no ill effects of the broken leg he suffered at the end of last year and appeared to be able to run the same way before he was injured. And being able to run is a huge part of Mariota’s game.

On the first play, he rolled right on a run fake and dodged defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, who got in his face.

“Instincts just kind of took over,’’ Mariota said after the game. “You just kind of play the game you’ve always been playing.’’

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Fournette makes rookie mistake judging NFL on one preseason game

Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette got a lot of attention in New England on Thursday night in his preseason debut again the Patriots.

Not so much for what he did during the game, but what he said after it.

Fournette is noted for having a lot of confidence, and he certainly showed it after he gained 31 yards in nine carries and a touchdown in the Jaguars’ eventual 31-24 victory.

“It’s a lot slower than I really thought,” Fournette told NFL.com after the game. “That’s how I’ve been since I first got into the NFL. A lot of people were like, ‘It’s going to be fast.’ But by me playing in the SEC, that kind of helped me a lot. I think, to me, it was really easy.”

Naturally, he said he could match what Ezekiel Elliott did in his rookie season for Dallas last year. Elliott rushed for 1631 yards, the third-most ever for a rookie running back.

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With Coughlin being Coughlin, Marrone already looks like a short-timer

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is facing an unusual dynamic this season that no NFL coach has ever faced.

He’s got Tom Coughlin as his boss.

Coughlin, who built the most successful NFL expansion team ever in his first tenure with the Jaguars, is back this year in a new role.

He’s the executive vice president of football operations, but he’s not the coach.

In his first stint with the Jaguars, Coughlin also ran the show, but he was the coach. So Coughlin couldn’t second-guess himself.

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Horrific practice underscores Bortles’ shaky status with Jaguars

Ryan Mallett of the Baltimore Ravens showed Friday that quarterbacks sometimes have a meltdown in training camp.

He threw “at least five interceptions,’’ according to reports from the Ravens’ training camp, and almost threw two more.

“Tell (offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg) to tell Mallett to throw to the guys wearing the purple (offensive) jerseys,” Terrell Suggs said.

Mallett even threw a white towel in the air after the last one.

Blake Bortles of the Jaguars matched it Saturday night in the team’s first padded practice before more than 4,000 season-ticket holders invited to practice.

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