New York Jets: Eight Candidates to Replace Tony Sparano as Offensive Coordinator

Rocco ConstantinoContributor IDecember 30, 2012

New York Jets: Eight Candidates to Replace Tony Sparano as Offensive Coordinator

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    Although rumors have been circulating for weeks, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported again Sunday morning that the New York Jets would relieve Tony Sparano of his duties as offensive coordinator as early as New Year's Eve.

    The move wouldn't surprise anyone, as Woody Johnson has clearly been unhappy with the way the 2012 season has gone.  Johnson has shown in the past that he is not afraid to make changes in the upper echelon of the organization when he is so upset at the result.

    The Jets need to hire an assistant who has successfully directed an offense on the NFL level and has the ability to develop a quarterback.  

    Rex Ryan clearly needs a partner who he could hand the offensive keys over to and not have to worry about anything.  

    He needs a partnership like Bill Walsh and George Seifert, Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan or Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick.

    As you can see, there's nothing wrong with having a partnership like that.

    While fans are already clamoring for Norv Turner, any team with an opening in that position probably will too.

    The good news is that the Jets job can actually be an attractive one.

    They should already have a good defense in place, so the ability to take chances within the offense will be there.

    Also, he will likely be able to build his own offense basically from scratch, and based on recent results, shouldn't have any problem topping the previous garbage that's been out there.

    Finally, if the coordinator is successful and the team doesn't improve, that person could be right in line for Rex Ryan's job by 2014 if they want it.

    There are the obvious negatives as well, but when it comes down to it, there are only 32 NFL offensive coordinator jobs in the country and beggars can't be choosers.

    While it seems like Norv Turner is the only candidate fans have been mentioning thus far, here's a look at some others who could also step into the job.

Norv Turner

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    If Turner is ousted from his head coaching gig in San Diego as expected, he will be at the top of the list for most teams who are looking for a coordinator.

    Turner had successful stints calling plays for the Cowboys, Chargers, Dolphins and 49ers and is one of the most highly respected offensive minds in the game.

    Turner is the perfect candidate to either start over with a new young quarterback or to try to squeeze any kind of production out of Mark Sanchez for one more year if he is forced back onto the roster.

    When the Jets played the Chargers in Week 16, Turner spoke about the respect he has for Rex Ryan and how good of a relationship the two have.  He also said in the same report that he'd love to continue to coach next season (h/t New York Daily News).

    It seems like a perfect fit all around, but so could some other places around the league.  

    If Woody Johnson is serious about rebuilding this offense into a winner, he should back a Brinks truck up to Turner's front door.

Andy Reid

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    Andy Reid isn't a serious candidate for the job, but has been mentioned as a candidate in some circles, so we'll throw his name out there.

    Reid has never been a coordinator, but was an offensive assistant for the Packers from 1992-1998 before taking over the Eagles.

    Reid has a strong offensive mind and would command a ton of respect once he walked into the room.  He'd bring a ton of class and respect to an organization that sorely needs it.

    However, if there's one person who needs a year or two off, it's Reid.

    Reid has had tough seasons in Philadelphia the past two years and has also had to deal with the unthinkable tragedy of losing his son.

    There's little to no chance of this happening next year.

Brian Billick

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    Brian Billick is another well-respected coach who would bring credibility into the organization just by showing up to Florham Park.

    In 1998, Billick was the coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings when they set a then-NFL record for points scored in a single season with 556.

    Of course, the Jets don't have Randy Moss, Cris Carter and Robert Smith on the roster, but his success counts for something.

    Billick is a Super Bowl-winning coach with a nice job in broadcasting and journalism, so it might seem like a long shot that he'd consider leaving that for the Jets.

    However, Ryan and Billick have strong ties.

    When Billick was brought on as the head coach of the Ravens in 1999, he hired Rex Ryan as his defensive line coach.  

    After six years, Billick promoted Ryan to defensive coordinator. 

    When Billick was fired three years later, Ryan was retained on staff even though he was passed over for the head coaching job he wanted so badly.

    Whether Billick wants to return to coaching or not remains to be seen, but it's worth it to reach out to him, especially considering the relationship they already have.

Pat Shumur

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    Pat Shurmur may not have the big-name appeal of other candidates, but he has the necessary coordinator experience the Jets should be looking for.

    Shurmur was the offensive coordinator for the Rams in 2009 and 2010, which might not sound too impressive at first.  However, Shurmur played a huge role in the success of Sam Bradford and the overall forward direction of the Rams' offense.

    While Shurmur was their coordinator, the Rams improved consistently in almost every offensive category and significantly decreased their turnovers.

    Since he left to take over as head coach of the Browns, Bradford hasn't been the same.

    When Shurmur took over the Browns in 2010, they had the 31st-ranked offense from the previous season.  Within two years, he has them ranked No. 23.

    That's not a hugely impressive feat, but he took one of the worst organizations in football and had them moving in the right direction.

    Shurmur may not excite people at first, but he could end up being the right choice.  

Mike Mularkey

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    The current head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike Mularkey will be a hot name as a coordinator if he is fired after a 2-14 season.

    Although he could be a one-year flameout as a head coach, Mularkey has had some past success as an offensive coordinator, most recently for the Falcons.

    Mularkey was a coordinator for the Steelers from 2001-2003 before leaving to become head coach of the Bills.  After that didn't work, he had a one-year stint as the offensive coordinator of a bad Dolphins team in 2006.  

    Mularkey had his best success in his next stop, Atlanta, where he lasted from 2008-2011.

    In his last two seasons, he called plays for the fifth- and seventh-ranked offenses in the NFL respectively. 

    On the downside, Mularkey was a tight end, and although he worked with a young Matt Ryan, he doesn't have the reputation for developing quarterbacks.

    He does have a reputation for utilizing creative packages and trick plays, so that'd be fun!

Greg Olson

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    Greg Olson doesn't have the same head coaching experience as some of the other coordinators who may be available, but his experience can't be overlooked. 

    The current quarterbacks coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Olson was a successful coordinator for both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and St. Louis Rams.

    In 2010, Olson mentored Josh Freeman to a huge improvement in his second year in the NFL.  With Olson calling the plays, Freeman threw for 3,451 yards, 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

    Olson also served as the offensive coordinator for the 2006 Rams team that was one of just four teams in NFL history to feature a 4,000-yard passer, 1,500-yard running back and two 1,000-yard receivers.  

    This year as the Jaguars quarterback coach, he helped the team to the 22nd-ranked passing offense in the NFL while using Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert at quarterback.  

    He must know that Tim Tebow is on the way, so he could be looking to understandably from bolt that situation before it happens.

Jim Fassel

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    Although it's probably a long shot, the Jets could very well reach out to the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League for their next offensive coordinator.

    That's where Jim Fassel is currently toiling as the team's successful head coach.

    Fassel has a clear expertise in developing quarterbacks and did well in his last stint as a coordinator in the NFL.

    Fassel was last seen in the NFL from 2004-2006 when he was the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, the same years Rex Ryan coached the defense.

    During that time, though, Fassel directed the offenses that were ranked near the bottom of the NFL.  He was fired in October of his third season as coordinator and the Ravens would go on to rank 12th in the NFL in total offense without him.

    Fassel would be better served as a quarterbacks coach, and when Matt Cavanaugh is hopefully let go, he could conceivably be a candidate there.

    His success in New York and a possible perception by Woody Johnson that he'd be taking a "Giants guy" for the job make him a possibility.

Doug Marrone

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    Doug Marrone could be a very interesting candidate for the job and he might not even know it.  

    Marrone is the successful head coach of the Syracuse Orangemen and has done a good job turning around a once-proud program that had fallen on very hard times.

    However, there are a number of reasons why Marrone could be the man for the job.

    Most notably would be the current situation Syracuse finds itself with the Big East.  They have ended their ties with the conference and will be bolting to the ACC next year.  While that's not the biggest deal, the ACC is a better football conference and Marrone may have taken the 'Cuse as far as he can.

    He's also done a fine job working with Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, who has developed into one of the top quarterback prospects in the NFL draft and could be a second-round target for the Jets.

    Also, remember the days Kevin Mawae, Pete Kendall and Kareem McKenzie manned the Jets offensive line?  Well, Marrone was their coach.

    As the Jets offensive line coach from 2002-2005, the Bronx-born Marrone had one of the best units in the NFL.

    As if that wasn't all good enough, Marrone served as the offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints from 2006-2008, overseeing one of the best offenses in the NFL.

    He might not be a name that immediately pops into your mind like Norv Turner, but he is certainly someone to consider if he's willing to leave Syracuse.