Jaguars fire Mularkey: The Jacksonville Jaguars fired head coach Mike Mularkey Thursday, a move that had been expected for the past few days — ever since David Caldwell was hired as the team’s new general manager. The Jaguars finished the season at 2-14 and ranked near the bottom of the league in both total offense and defense. It certainly didn’t help that Maurice Jones-Drew engaged in an extended holdout then missed the majority of the season with a foot injury. Neither was it a positive that Blaine Gabbert failed to take a big step forward or that Justin Blackmon struggled most of the year. However, there are positives in place for the next head coach. Namely, Jones-Drew should have plenty of time to rest and recover, Blackmon seemed to figure things out near the end of the year and — perhaps biggest of all — the surprise emergence of Cecil Shorts III. That’s all to say that this team isn’t completely devoid of offensive talent. It will be necessary to add something on the offensive line (Jacksonville allowed 50 sacks, third-most in the league), but with the right offensive system, there could be some fantasy value there for 2013.
Starks could return: Green Bay Packers running back James Starks could be back in the lineup for Saturday’s game against the 49ers. Starks hasn’t played since suffering a bruised knee in Week 13 while DuJuan Harris has ascended to the top of the depth chart. If Starks is cleared to play, it’s unclear what his role would be or how many snaps he would see. In addition to competing with Harris for playing time, the Packers have also used Ryan Grant to help with the rushing duties. Both of those backs have already pushed Alex Green well down the depth chart, so it’s hard to imagine Starks seeing a huge workload in his return. Oh, and there’s also the issue of trying to break down a Niners defense that allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards to opponents during the regular season.
Lions seeking RBs: For years, the Detroit Lions have been on the prowl for quality wide receivers and it hasn’t been completely fruitless, landing the team Calvin Johnson. But after struggling with a mostly one-dimensional offense this season, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew says the team will likely turn its attention to finding a top-notch running back. This season, the rushing duties were split mostly between Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell as the team waited for the return of Jahvid Best … which never happened. If the Lions decide to go the free agency route, guys like Reggie Bush or Felix Jones could be on their radar.
— Marcas Grant
Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG