Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinatorTodd Bowles
against the Kansas City Chiefs at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
At 6 PM last night, the New York Jets officially hired former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as the fifth head coach of the 15 year Woody Johnson era. Bowles had agreed in principle to become the Jets new coach Tuesday night, according to multiple reports. His rumored coordinators are former Bills head coach Chan Gailey on offense and Miami defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers to coordinate the other side.
Bowles is a local guy who was born in raised in Elizabeth, NJ and played his college ball at Temple University, the same alma-mater as current Jets Muhammad Wilkerson and Jaiquawn Jarrett. After a seven year playing career in the NFL as a safety, he spent the next 15 years as a secondary coach, including one year with the Jets as a defensive backs coach in 2000 under Al Groh.
It took him until the middle of 2012 to get a defensive coordinator job with the Eagles after the failed Juan Castillo experiment. He then left for Arizona as their defensive coordinator in both 2013 and 2014 where he registered top-10 defenses, despite a multitude of injuries to key players.
Bowles runs a multiple-front defense that changes based on game plan andthat last year, blitzed 70% of the time. He is extremely inventive from a game plan standpoint and also is renowned for his in-game adjustments. Bowles not only puts his players in the best place to succeed, he is good at developing players. Imagine a more flexible version of Rex Ryan’s defense.
Another hallmark of Bowles-coached teams is a corner/safety playing a hybrid linebacker role in the box. Bowles likes to use a “Big Nickel”type defender that is up to play the run, cover against tight ends, running backs and especially blitz. The fact that he has Calvin Pryor, who was supposed to play this role before having to play free safety due to injuries, and Antonio Allen can really help Bowles ratchet up the creativity, if they can fix the corners on the outside.
With Bowles background being in the secondary expect Milliner, Pryor, Allen and McDougle to be developed with some veterans like ex-Jet and ex-Cardinal Antonio Cromartie being brought in to sure things up in the short-term.
I would expect Bowles to morph the Jets into a hybrid 4-3 defense and have Quinton Coples join Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison to form the backbone of his defense. Also, I would look for the Jets to revamp their linebacking group to get faster and better able to cover as well as rush the passer.
Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles against the Kansas City Chiefs at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Chan Gailey has been coaching for 40 years, with stops head coach of the Cowboys from 1998-1999 and Buffalo Bills from 2010-2012, as well as offensive coordinator positions with the Steelers, Dolphins and Chiefs.
He runs a spread offense that is based on getting the ball to his skilled position players in space and running simple plays over and over, using different formations and personnel to disguise the plays. Gailey also has the reputation of simplifying things for his quarterback and succeeding in both Kansas City and Buffalo with sub-par personnel.
He tailored his offenses to fit Tyler Thigpen‘s mobility in Kansas City in 2008 by running the Pistol formation and covered up Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s limitations as a 1 read quarterback by going no-huddle more often. Under Gailey, C.J. Spiller of the Bills averaged six yards per carry for an entire season.
Spiller is a free agent and bringing him here to go along with players like Harvin and Decker, who excel in space, could be very good to go along with Chris Ivory, Jeremy Kerley and Jace Amaro. Gailey might not be a good head coach but it is foolish to question his ability to run an offense.
Sep 26, 2014; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Miami Dolphins defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers (right) and defensive endOlivier Vernon
(50) at practice at Allianz Park in advance of the NFL International Series game between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kacy Rodgers is being pegged to run Bowles’ defense. Rodgers has been a defensive line coach for nine years, first with the Cowboys from 2005-2007, then the Dolphins from 2008-2014. He is a rising coaching star that is considered a big loss for the Miami staff. Under Rodgers, he developed Cameron Wake, Paul Soliai and Randy Starks into Pro Bowlers.
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He was important enough for the Dolphins to retain him even after letting go of Tony Sparano. He worked alongside Bowles with the Dolphins from 2008 (only year New England did not win the AFC East in the last 10) through 2011. Rodgers has coached both the 3-4 with the Dolphins in 2008-2010 and the 4-3 in 2011-2014 so he is perfect for Bowles system of multiple fronts.
One thing is for sure, Todd Bowles is putting together a dynamic staff.