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If the NY Jets fire Adam Gase midseason, these are three possible short-term replacements.
The NY Jets are going to fire Adam Gase. Maybe not today, maybe not next week, but it’s inevitable at this point.
And while it still seems that stubborn management insists on retaining Gase for the remainder of the season, it’s unclear how much more the players and the organization can take of this.
The Jets are fresh off their sixth straight loss to open the 2020 season — all of which have come by multiple scores. For context, both the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns — the only two 0-16 teams in NFL history — lost at least four of their first eight games by one score.
The Jets haven’t even done that once yet.
The Jets are going to have to make a move likely sooner rather than later. And when they do, who might we see take over for Gase? That all depends on what move or moves they make.
Really, no one on the coaching staff is safe. But we could assume that if Gase is gone, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains likely goes with him. That leaves defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, whose defense has resembled Gase’s offense in many ways this season.
In this scenario, we’re going to assume Williams stays for reasons we’ll touch on later, although that’s far from a given. In fact, Williams might actually get the can before Gase at this rate.
But assuming Gase and Loggains are the two sent packing, who steps in as the interim head coach?
Next: 3. Jim Bob Cooter
3. Jim Bob Cooter, NY Jets’ running backs coach
Jim Bob Cooter is certainly a fan-favorite to take over for Gase, and there’s some degree of logic there. Cooter is probably the most “accomplished” offensive play-caller on the coaching staff, not that that’s saying very much.
The 36-year-old was the offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions from 2016 to 2018 before joining the Jets as their running backs coach in 2019.
Cooter’s offense ranked 20th, 7th, and 25th in scoring during his three years in Detroit and while his play-calling was sometimes called into question, he was credited with getting some excellent quarterback play out of Matthew Stafford.
The biggest knock against Cooter would be his lack of prior head coaching experience. His offensive coordinator job with the Lions was the most prestigious title he’s held in his rather brief NFL coaching career.
In fact, he didn’t even become a positional coach until he was named the Lions’ quarterbacks coach back in 2014. Asking him to assume head coach responsibilities might be a stretch.
Nonetheless, he should remain a prime candidate to take over offensive play-calling duties if Gase is let go midseason. Even if his odds of being the interim head coach remain unlikely.
Next: 2. Shawn Jefferson/Frank Bush
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2. Shawn Jefferson/Frank Bush, NY Jets’ assistant head coaches
This scenario may be a little different than what many Jets fans are expecting, but it’s one that makes some sense.
The Jets currently have two assistant head coaches on their staff, wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson and inside linebackers coach Frank Bush. Both have substantial NFL coaching experience and, yes, both are Adam Gase guys.
However, it would make sense for one or both of them to assume control of the team if Gase were to be fired.
Jefferson is a former NFL receiver who began his NFL coaching career in 2006. He’s primarily been a wide receivers coach throughout his career, but was promoted to the role of assistant head coach upon joining the Jets.
Bush, on the other hand, has held many titles throughout his lengthy 27-year coaching career in the NFL including defensive coordinator, linebackers coach, secondary coach, and even assistant head coach before joining the Jets.
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Bush seems like the likely candidate to take over, but there’s a scenario where Jefferson is asked to run the offense and Bush to run the defense — this would assume that Gregg Williams is fired as well.
If not, either one could simply be asked to take over for Gase. Neither has prior head coaching experience, but only one individual on the coaching staff has ever been a head coach at any level — we’ll get to him — so we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel here.
At the very least, assistant head coaches are one step down from being head coaches so it wouldn’t be crazy to see either promoted.
In fact, the Atlanta Falcons just did the same with their assistant head coach turned interim head coach, Raheem Morris, as did the Houston Texans with Romeo Crennel.
Don’t be shocked if either Jefferson or Bush gets the job.
Next: 1. Gregg Williams
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
1. Gregg Williams, NY Jets’ defensive coordinator
It’s really impossible to say how likely it would be that Gregg Williams takes over for Gase if he’s fired. Williams could be fired as soon as tomorrow or he could be kept on as the interim head coach and remain with the team through the end of the season.
But surely based on merit alone, this isn’t a job that Williams has earned.
The Jets’ defense has been a disaster this season playing like an undisciplined mess under Williams’ watch. It isn’t just a lack of talent either, the volume of penalties speaks for itself as does Williams’ questionable personnel use.
How do you justify playing Alec Ogletree over Avery Williamson for so long? Williams has made his fair share of gaffes this season.
That being said, he’s clearly the most obvious choice to take over for Gase in the event that he’s fired.
Williams is the only member of the Jets’ coaching staff who has any experience as a head coach at any level of collegiate or professional football having served as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2001 to 2003.
Moreover, he’s been in this position before having spent the second half of the 2018 season as the interim head coach of the Cleveland Browns once Hue Jackson was fired.
Williams hasn’t earned a promotion by any means, but he’s the most qualified person for the job. And for that reason, the Jets might just decide to keep him around despite his poor performance and controversial comments.
They may not have a choice.