New York Jets: Meet Assistant Head Coach Mike Caldwell


Nov 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill (left) on the sidelines with linebackers coach Mike Caldwell against the Indianapolis Colts at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In an interesting twist, Todd Bowles is reportedly signing former Arizona LB coach  Mike Caldwell to his staff. The Arizona Cardinals announced Friday that they would be releasing Caldwell from his contract so that he could join Bowles with the Jets.  The news was first reported by the sports media in Arizona on Thursday, with multiple reports coming out to that effect.

Not much is being written about this development, most likely because it won’t be official until Bowles announces his staff at his inaugural press conference, happening tomorrow in Florham Park.

I found it interesting mainly because Mike Caldwell isn’t being hired as a LB coach for the Jets. Instead, according to the reports, Caldwell is being hired as the “Assistant Head Coach” of the New York Jets.

This caught me by surprise a bit. The title of Assistant Head Coach is rarely used around NFL teams any longer. I find it even more interesting because Todd Bowles is a first time head coach, and he has worked with Caldwell before.

It would appear, at least on the surface, Todd Bowles is seeking help with his new position. I find that encouraging news for Jet Fans. Woody Johnson hired newcomers to the general manager and head coaching jobs, and it would appear both are seeking help from trusted friends.

Let’s take a look at Mike Caldwell and see what he might bring to the New York Jets.

Next: Coaching History

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

Todd Bowles and Mike Caldwell worked and coached together for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012 before both headed to Arizona in 2013. In Philadelphia, Bowles held the position of Secondary Coach before being promoted to their Defensive Coordinator later in the year. Caldwell was the LB coach for the Eagles that year.

Caldwell and Bowles spent two seasons together building a highly touted defense in Arizona. Bowles was once again the defensive coordinator and was teamed with Caldwell as the LB coach.

So it would appear Bowles is reaching out to Caldwell for help once again to help run the Jets football team. I have to admire that, to ask for help isn’t an easy thing to do, personally I think it speaks volumes about who Bowles is as a coach. He knows his limitations and isn’t afraid to turn to his trusted assistants to get the job done.

Let’s look a little closer at Caldwell though. Like I said, the title of Assistant Head Coach isn’t often used in the league. What Caldwell’s duties will be isn’t exactly clear, but it would appear those duties will carry significant responsibilities. Let’s take a look at who Bowles and the Jets are handing those responsibilities too.

Next: Playing Career

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

Mike Caldwell played LB for 11 years in the NFL after playing his college ball at Middle Tennessee State University. Caldwell was drafted in the 3rd round by the Cleveland Browns. He spent four years in Cleveland before moving on to spend a year with both Baltimore and Arizona.

1998 found Caldwell in Philadelphia where he spent the next four years. His playing career wound down with Caldwell spending a year with both Chicago and Carolina. Caldwell retired after the 2003 season.

Caldwell broke into NFL coaching circles with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was hired to the Eagles coaching staff in 2008 as their Defensive Quality Control Coach. In 2010, Caldwell was promoted to Assistant Linebacker’s Coach. He spent his final two seasons as the Linebacker’s Coach for the Eagles, moving to Arizona for the 2013 season.

During the 2013 and 2014 seasons Caldwell was the LB’s coach for Todd Bowles and the Arizona Cardinals. In 2013, Bowles and Caldwell combined to produce the sixth best defense in the league overall and the number one defense against the run.

Key injuries decimated the Cardinals defense in 2014, the Cardinals ended the season with the 24th over all defense. It should be noted that there were major injuries to this group. The injuries were severe enough that they were likely the reason Todd Bowles won the Assistant Coach of the Year award.

Next: A New Day for the Jets

Oct 12, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager John Idzik (left) talks with New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan (center) and Jets owner Woody Johnson before a game against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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Woody Johnson set out to hire quality personnel to run his football team. I think he did a great job bringing in both Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan. Both are new to their positions, and both have shown that they are smart enough to realize they need a right hand man to turn to for support. That to me, is a pleasant change for the New York Jets organization. It would appear to me. that at least for now; “ego” and working together won’t be a problem for these two.

Mike Caldwell and Todd Bowles have spent three years together, working for two different teams. I’m excited to see what they can bring to the Jets. I think Caldwell will be a key hiring, as the Jets will likely be re working the LB corp this off-season. Interesting development I thought.

So what do you guys think? Is it odd that the Jets chose to give Caldwell the title? Any thoughts on Caldwell? Let’s talk Jets football!!

Next: The Patriots Double Standard