The NY Jets interviewed Philadelphia Eagles passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo on Friday as the team kicked off their offensive coordinator search. On Tuesday, that search continued in the form of New England Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley.
Caley is the second known candidate to interview for the Jets' vacant offensive coordinator position following the team's decision to part ways with Mike LaFleur. And much like Patullo, Caley doesn't exactly boast a ton of high-profile NFL experience.
For that reason, his inclusion on the Jets' list of candidates comes as a bit of a surprise. What exactly do the Jets see in the longtime Patriots assistant coach?
And on that note, who is Nick Caley? What do we know about him and why are the Jets interested?
Who is Nick Caley?
A native of Canton, OH, Caley spent a decade coaching at the collegiate level, bouncing around primarily as a graduate assistant at schools such as John Carroll (his alma mater), Akron, Auburn, Iowa State, and Arkansas.
He did spend a year each as the secondary coach at Eastern Illinois in 2012 and later at Florida Atlantic in 2014. His bio on the Patriots' website states that Caley "coached mainly on the defensive side of the ball" with a "focus on the secondary."
However, his first big break came when he joined the Patriots in 2015 as an offensive assistant. Caley would spend two years in that role before being promoted to the team's tight ends coach in 2017. He briefly added the title of fullbacks coach in 2020 and 2021 before reverting back to just a tight ends coach in 2022.
Why would the NY Jets hire Nick Caley?
Caley's resume isn't exactly the most impressive of the candidates the Jets are looking at. He's never been anything more than a position coach at any level of his coaching career and is probably the most inexperienced coach the Jets will bring in for an interview.
That said, he does have something going for him. The Patriots really like him, or at least head coach Bill Belichick does.
When Josh McDaniels left to become the head coach in Las Vegas last offseason, he brought with him a number of his former assistant coaches in New England. The Patriots specifically blocked Caley — and only Caley — from joining McDaniels' staff.
It says something that the Patriots were willing to let three of McDaniels' top assistants leave, but that they refused to let him take Caley as well. The Patriots clearly had big plans for him.
Caley was also named to Tom Pelissero's list of young coaches to watch in the coming years back in 2021. Despite his lack of experience, this isn't the first time Caley's name has been mentioned in something like this.
That said, it's worth noting that Caley was the perceived favorite to be given the title of offensive play-caller in 2022, only for Belichick to hand play-calling duties over to former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, along with former special teams coordinator Joe Judge.
The Patriots are looking for a new offensive coordinator this offseason, but it seems as though they've zeroed in on Bill O'Brien as their top choice. Belichick might hold Caley in high regard, but he continues to pass him up in favor of more experienced coaches.
Would the NY Jets actually hire Nick Caley?
Maybe the Jets feel differently about Caley. Maybe they believe he's a young rising star in the coaching ranks who simply hasn't been given the opportunity to run an offense yet. Evidently, they think highly enough to bring him in for an interview.
This also could be a case of a team bringing in an assistant coach from a rival organization to gain a little intel — never discount the possibility of gamesmanship in the NFL.
Of all the candidates the Jets are going to interview over the coming days/weeks, Caley might be the most surprising hire. His lack of experience would make him a difficult sell for a fan base that was essentially promised a veteran leader in the offensive coaching room following LaFleur's departure.
Still, the Jets brought him in for a reason. Caley is a candidate, even if he wouldn't be the preferred hire for most fans.