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The NY Jets must stay away from these coaching candidates this offseason.
The NY Jets will once again be returning to the coaching carousel this offseason as they search for Adam Gase’s successor. While nothing has technically been confirmed, it is all but inevitable at this point that Gase will be fired at the season’s end.
And with Gase gone, the Jets will need to find the individual who will lead this team for the foreseeable future. But they must avoid falling into the same traps that they did two years ago.
Gase’s failure in New York wasn’t some unforeseen chance occurrence. Instead, it was rather predictable with all the warning signs of a bad hire staring the Jets in the face.
This time around, they must spot those warning signs before it’s too late. They can’t hire an obviously poor candidate or else they risk setting the organization back another two or more years.
There is no shortage of highly-regarded, qualified candidates this coaching cycle. From college coaches such as Iowa State’s Matt Campbell or NFL assistants like Kansas City’s Eric Bienemy or Tennesse’s Arthur Smith, the Jets will have plenty of options at their disposal.
For that reason, picking an obviously unfit candidate would not only prove disastrous, but could serve as a repeat of the Gase debacle.
If the Jets are going to avoid making the same mistake again, here are three possible coaching candidates that they must avoid at all costs.
Next: 3. Don Martindale
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3. The NY Jets should not hire Don Martindale
Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator Don Martindale isn’t a flashy hire that will generate a lot of headlines this offseason. But make no mistake about it, teams are interested and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was given a head coach position in a couple of months.
Martindale, affectionately nicknamed “Wink,” is a longtime NFL assistant who has transformed the Ravens’ defense into one of the best units in the league since taking over in 2018.
With a background as a linebackers coach, Martindale briefly served as the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2010, but has found the most success in Baltimore.
And while with the Ravens, the veteran assistant coach crossed paths with current Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas — hence why some have pinpointed Martindale as a possible hire for the Jets.
However, in his 34 years as a coach, Martindale has never risen above the title of defensive coordinator. In fact, he’s only even held that role for four years in his career.
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With no offensive background to speak of, the Jets would be pairing whoever their young quarterback is next year with a defensive-minded coach — and one with no head coach experience at any level.
This would be a very similar move to the one the Broncos made a couple of years ago hiring longtime NFL assistant Vic Fangio. The hire wasn’t well received at the time and he hasn’t exactly calmed his critics since then.
Hiring Martindale might not be a complete disaster, but it would be an underwhelming decision, to say the least.
Next: 2. Doug Pederson
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2. The NY Jets should not hire Doug Pederson
Say it with me, “don’t hire retreads.” When a head coach fails in one location, it’s foolish to expect that individual to find immediate success elsewhere — especially without taking a year or two off.
The Jets would be falling into the same trap they did with Adam Gase if they were to hire Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson this offseason.
Critics will point to the fact that Pederson won a Super Bowl as recently as a few years ago. How could a Super Bowl-winning head coach — a recent one at that — be that bad of a candidate?
Ask anyone who’s watched the Eagles over the last couple of seasons and they’ll tell you.
Pederson’s offense has taken a major step back since offensive coordinator Frank Reich left following the team’s Super Bowl victory leaving many to believe that Reich was the true mastermind behind Philadelphia’s success.
Carson Wentz has regressed to the point that he isn’t even recognizable from his 2017 self. His mechanics are a disaster, his decision-making is horrific, and Pederson continues to put him in situations that exasperate this.
Wentz deserves blame for his struggles, but so too does Pederson.
Past success cannot be a determining factor when deciding on a new head coach. The NFL is very much a “what have you done for me lately” league.
And Pederson has been a poor head coach since that Super Bowl victory. Hiring him, assuming the Eagles fire him, would be a mistake — Joe Douglas connections be damned.
Next: 1. Jim Harbaugh
1. The NY Jets should not hire Jim Harbaugh
If there ever was a hire that had “disaster” written all over it, it’s Jim Harbaugh.
The former San Francisco 49ers’ head coach is destined to be one of the hottest names in the coaching cycle this offseason.
Few individuals are bigger names in the coaching world than Harbaugh and it would undoubtedly be a splash hire for the Jets — or any team for that matter — to make this move.
But a “splash” hire isn’t always a wise one.
Harbaugh has been a complete bust in Michigan having turned the once-dominant program into the laughing stock of the Big Ten and the college football world. The school hasn’t won a bowl game since his first season in 2015 and they sit at just 2-4 in 2020.
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Perhaps more importantly, Harbaugh has consistently underperformed against rivals with frequent losses to Ohio State, Michigan State, and others. The Wolverines under Harbaugh have regularly come out flat in big games.
Did he find success with the 49ers? Absolutely, but it’s important to remember how his tenure ended. He wasn’t ousted because of poor performance.
Instead, the 49ers reportedly decided that they were going to move on from Harbaugh after the 2013 season that saw them finish 12-4 and earn a trip to the NFC Championship Game (they waited another year to fire him but the decision had already been made).
His ongoing power struggle with general manager Trent Baalke was the primary reason for this. Harbaugh is abrasive and power-hungry. He’s been described as a “control freak” and would want some degree of roster control wherever he lands.
The Jets need to let Joe Douglas do his job and not pair him with another “control freak” head coach who will impede his vision.
Harbaugh is a disaster waiting to happen and no prior success over half a decade ago changes that.