New York Jets: Why Mike Shanahan should be Hired as Head Coach


Dec 21, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan walks off the field after losing to the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Jets 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets are well in the midst of their job searches, scheduling and holding interviews left and right.  They are interviewing executives for their general manager position, as well as coaching candidates to fill the shoes of Rex Ryan.  Whether the Jets should or shouldn’t be searching for both jobs concurrently is something I have discussed previously.  But now, we are going to discuss the process as it is being handled, and trust in Woody Johnson and his hired consultants.

There has been a lot of talk about who should be the guy to fill the shoes of Rex Ryan.  The Jets are working on it, planning meetings with the likes of Dan Quinn and Tom Cable, among others.  I haven’t gotten into the debate on who should be discussed yet, until now.  This is not likely to be a popular candidate choice, but one I feel is the perfect match.

To start, I have said from day one, that if and when Rex was let go, the Jets need a previous head coach.  To clean things up, I do not believe that a first time head coach is the way to go.  The Jets need a name head coach, one with a resume, that will command instant respect.  The trouble is, I couldn’t find the candidate.  Jon Gruden is out of the picture, and I have been told that the odds of the Jets putting in a call to Bill Cowher, even just to gauge interest, are slim to none.

But then, I see the report that Mike Shanahan is likely going to interview with the 49ers.  When I heard that, I realized that was the coach I was looking for.  This is the guy I want to bring the Jets back to where they were, and take them further.

If Mike Shanahan wants to coach again, this is the guy the Jets should hire, and I will tell you why.

Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operation

John Elway

on the sidelines prior to Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets have had trouble developing quarterbacks. This is not news, I think anyone that has watched the Jets, EVER, realizes this. Mike Shanahan made his mark in the NFL as a quarterback guru. It started in the 1980’s, when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos. As the OC under Dan Reeves, Shanahan guided Elway to early success, and became close with his young quarterback. So much so, that Reeves let go of Shanahan because of that closeness, as Reeves was feuding with Elway.

So Mike Shanahan not only brought out the talent in Elway, he stuck close to his quarterback as well.

He returned briefly to Denver after an ill-fated stint as head coach with the Raiders, thanks to a toxic relationship with owner Al Davis.

Nov 17, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; ESPN broadcaster and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback

Steve Young

on the Monday Night Countdown set before the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Shanahan cemented his reputation as a quarterback guru from 1992-1994, as the offensive coordinator with San Francisco. In those years, Steve Young put up three of his best years as a pro. Under Shanahan, Young passed for 25 TD’s and 7 INT’s in 1992, 29 TD’s and 16 TD’s in 1993, and 35 TD’s and 10 INT’s in 1994.

The Jets need help at the quarterback position, and Shanahan can clearly provide that help.

Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan on the sidelines during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Shanahan is shown here in last job with the Redskins, but he built his head coaching reputation as the long time coach of the Denver Broncos. He returned to his roots in 1995, and led the Broncos to back to back Super Bowl titles in 1998 and 1999, to end John Elway’s career.

Overall, the Denver Broncos went to the playoffs seven times, and his record was 138-86, with an 8-5 postseason record.

Mike Shanahan is in rare air as a two-time Super Bowl winner, sharing the honor with a former deity according to all Jets fans, including myself, Bill Parcells.

Dec 28, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback

Robert Griffin

III (10) warms up before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 16, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back

Alfred Morris

(46) rushes the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Many that disagree with me will look to Shanahan’s record with the Redskins. It’s a fair point. Though he made one appearance in the playoffs with the Redskins (2012), Shanahan’s record over four years was 24-40. I will not disagree, not exactly the record you would hope for.

But, I would point out his successes.

First, we have Robert Griffin III. His best season was his rookie year, when he threw for 3,200 passing yards, 20 touchdowns versus only five interceptions. Griffin has not been the same since he got hurt. His best performance to date was with the Redskins under Mike Shanahan.

Second, take a look at Alfred Morris. Shanahan’s blocking schemes always served running backs well in Denver, but they helped out Morris as well. In two years under Shanahan, Alfred Morris posted rushing totals of 1,613 yards, and 1.275 yards. He posted an average of 4.8 yards per carry in his rookie year, and 4.6 in his sophomore campaign. This past season under Jay Gruden, Morris’ rushing total dropped to 1,074 yards, and his yards per carry dropped to 4.1.

See? Two of Washington’s best skilled position players excelled under Shanahan, and fell off once he left.

Add that to the fact that Daniel Snyder has not built his reputation on making great roster decisions, and I submit that Shanahan did well, all things considered.

Dec 29, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan walks off the field after a game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. The Giants defeated the Redskins 20-6. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Shanahan has only been out of the NFL for one year, so it’s not like the game has passed him by.

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Although his most recent coaching job did not go well, he has an extensive resume. He can groom a quarterback and lead an offense. He has been an excellent coach in this league and he can do it again.

If Mike Shanahan wants to work again, he is my choice for New York Jets head coach.

I know some of you might disagree, but this is my choice. I would do a victory dance if he is hired. Don’t worry, I promise not to post it if it happens.