New York Jets: Handicapping the Search for Head Coach


Jan 28, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn speaks to the media during Media Day for Super Bowl XLVIII at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

As both of the Jets’ high-profile searches come to an end and all of the candidates have been interviewed (sans Jon Robinson for GM who interviews today) decisions will be coming soon. In this article, I will try to wade through the information and read the tea leafs to see who will become the Jets’ next head coach.

The Favorite

1) Dan Quinn, Defensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks – Quinn is a local guy, from Morristown, NJ, and a former Jets assistant coach under Eric Mangini, working with the defensive line in 2007 and 2008. Quinn has been the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks for the last two seasons and has been the hottest candidate on the market both last year and this year. Quinn interviewed with every team looking for a head coach this year, other than the Raiders, including the Jets last Friday. The problem for him is his team’s success. The Jets, or anyone else, can’t hire him until Seattle either wins the Super Bowl or is eliminated from the playoffs.

That is a long time to wait and if an agreement can’t be reached the Jets may lose out on other candidates and not have Quinn on board. Last year, Quinn passed up a 2nd interview with the Browns and ended up losing out on that job. That being said, now that all candidates have been interviews and there is no hiring on the horizon, it appears as if the Jets might have an off-the-books agreement with Quinn. He is a very adaptable, very smart, defensive coordinator that seems to have a bright future and I hope he lands with the Jets.

Oct 20, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (6) and quarterbacks coach Frank Reich, right, in the second quarter of their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. The San Diego Chargers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-6. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild Cards

1) Todd Bowles, Defensive Coordinator, Arizona Cardinals – Bowles is another local guy, from Elizabeth, NJ and another candidate who worked with the Jets, this time as defensive back coach in 2000 under Al Groh. Bowles was the acting defensive coordinator for the Eagles in 2012 after the Juan Castillo fiasco (Castillo was an offensive coach moved over to defensive coordinator with disastrous results).  Bowles then moved to the Arizona Cardinals to be their defensive coordinator where, despite a multitude of injuries, the team has finished fifth and seventh in points allowed in his two years there.

He interviewed with the Jets yesterday. He was briefly an interim coach for the Dolphins in 2011 where he went 2-1. Bowles has been another hot name the last couple of years that should get a chance to be a head coach this year and I think he would do a good job here if given the job.

2) Frank Reich, Offensive Coordinator, San Diego Chargers – The former Bills backup quarterback and leader of the largest playoff comeback of all-time is a 1st year offensive coordinator under an offensive-minded head coach in Mike McCoy. Other than his playing experience and some experience as a quarterback and wide receivers coach, Reich is a relative coaching newcomer. I’d like to see at least another year of him being a coordinator before I’d give him a head coaching opportunity and I’d be willing to bet that when all is said and done he ends up taking the Bills job. He is still revered there and would have much more rope than he would get here. Reich interviewed yesterday with the Jets after interviewing Sunday with Buffalo.

Dec 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone on his sidelines during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Bills 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Fallbacks

1) Doug Marrone, Ex-Head Coach, Buffalo Bills – Marrone is yet another local candidate, hailing from the Bronx and was 25-25 with Syracuse before becoming the Bills head coach and going 15-17, including the 1st winning season for the Bills in the last ten years this year at 9-7. Marrone is the anti-Rex Ryan. He is a former offensive line coach (with the Jets from 2002-2005), and he is willing to make tough decisions like pulling the plug on E.J. Manuel very early in the season.  He isn’t very media-friendly but he does prepare his teams very well. It was extremely impressive to see how he handled having no practice time due to the major snowstorm and switching to another venue, all the time keeping his team’s focus.

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The problem with comparing Marrone to Quinn or Bowles is that Marrone has already been a head coach and we’ve seen his strengths and weaknesses, while Quinn and Bowles haven’t so we don’t know if they’ll have specific weaknesses or how they’ll handle adversity. I’m not against Marrone to the Jets, all I asked was that they interview all the candidates first.  They have, so if they determine he is the best fit, I am behind it.

2) Gary Kubiak, Offensive Coordinator, Baltimore Ravens – Kubiak was the offensive coordinator in Denver for ten years during the John Elway era from 1995-2005 before being tapped to be the Texans head coach from 2006-13 where he went 61-64, including 2-2 in the playoffs. Now, he is the offensive coordinator for the Ravens and is an aggressive play caller that takes advantage of his weapons. He wasn’t scared to throw a deep ball on 3rd and one in a playoff game and attacked 3rd and longs instead of calling a screen pass. He refuses to interview until after the season is over for the Ravens, which could be this weekend as they are at New England. As far as retreads go he isn’t a bad one, and could do better his second time around.

Dec 21, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 35-6. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Not A Chance

1) Tom Cable, Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach, Seattle Seahawks – A former head coach of the Raiders, he allegedly assaulted and threatened to kill one of his assistants and has been charged with domestic violence so it is fair to say he has a bit of an anger management problem. His 17-27 record with Oakland also isn’t good. It is not a good idea to hire a retread who didn’t show any promise the 1st time around and is coaching the weakest part of a good team, Seattle’s offensive line.

2) Anthony Lynn, Running Backs Coach, New York Jets – Lynn is an in-house candidate who is African-American so he satisfies the Rooney Rule, as well as the unwritten rule of interviewing someone from the previous staff. Other than that there isn’t a lot to his candidacy. Lynn is a respected coach but he needs to either go be a college coach or offensive coordinator before he is realistically considered for a head job, especially in this market. He has never been a coordinator despite being a running backs coach since 2003.