Coach 'Em Up: New York Jets Coaches May Dictate 2009 Outlook

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Coach 'Em Up: New York Jets Coaches May Dictate 2009 Outlook
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The New York Jets coaching staff took the bullet for a disastrous collapse down the stretch of the 2008 season.

Bad play-calling, the inability to execute in key spots and just overall team unpreparedness caused the release of Eric Mangini from his coaching duties. 

Heading into 2009, fans and management have invested a lot into making sure that the same mistakes are not repeated this season.

Owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum believe they have put together an elite coaching staff that will bring them a collective goal of a championship.

Each key member of the staff brings his own unique style of coaching to the team and hopes to bring the Jets new found glory.


Head Coach- Rex Ryan

Rex Ryan is no stranger to coaching. 

His father Buddy was the architect behind the revolutionary "46" defense that made the 1985 Chicago Bears one of the greatest units in NFL history as well as helping to bring the Philadelphia Eagles out of the doldrums.

His brother Rob is currently the defensive coordinator (as well as his teammate at Southwestern Oklahoma State University) of the Oakland Raiders which encompasses the overall complexion of the new coach's attitude that he brings to the team and that is a merciless attack both on offense and defense designed to wear down the opponent.

After leaving the college ranks at Division I-AA (now FCS) Eastern Kentucky and Division II New Mexico Highlands in 1989, Ryan joined the Division I-A (FBS) ranks at Morehead State as their defensive coordinator in 1990 through 1993 where they ranked sixth in total defense in the country.

He then served as an assistant with the Arizona Cardinals in 1994 and 1995 (when his father coached) as both a linebackers and defensive line coach, helping them reach a top five defensive ranking.

Ryan returned to the college sidelines afterwards from 1996 until 1998, serving on staff at both Cincinnati and Oklahoma; he helped the Bearcats reach their first bowl game (1998 Humanitarian Bowl) in 50 years and enabled the Sooners to a top ten defensive finish.

He returned to the NFL in 1999 and made his mark with the Baltimore Ravens, helping to create one of the greatest defenses in NFL history in 2000 en route to Super Bowl XXXV.

He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2005, replacing Mike Nolan and during his tenure the Ravens defense did not finish worse than tenth in any major defensive category.

As the new Jets coach, he has promised that "the Jets are coming" and is the complete antithesis to the stoic, usually Belichick-like clone in Eric Mangini.

For the first time since Bill Parcells, the Jets have a coach with credibility, toughness and grit. 


Offensive Coordinator- Brian Schottenheimer

When you carry the name of Schottenheimer, the stakes get raised in pressure situations.

One of the youngest assistant coaches in the NFL at age 35, Schottenheimer came to New York in 2006 after serving as quarterbacks coach to the San Diego Chargers from 2000-2005 even during his father Marty's coaching tenure in helping Drew Brees elevate to elite Pro Bowl status.

His first season in New York was met with success as an assistant to Eric Mangini's rookie staff in 2006, aiding Chad Pennington to a Comeback Player of the Year award with his first 3,000-yard passing season since 2002 and a wild-card playoff berth.

Schotty's play-calling has been diverse yet effective and often called into question by fans but he does not let the criticism get to him.

Diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2004 (which proved to be his best work), he continues to be a very involved member of the offensive staff.

No stranger to rings, Schottenheimer was the backup quarterback to 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel at the University of Florida en route to national championship.

After Eric Mangini was released from his duties in December, Schottenheimer was considered for the vacant head coaching position but was denied although his services were retained by new coach Rex Ryan.

It cannot be denied that the Jets offensive success hinders on Schottenheimer's unique play-calling style so he to many fans is under some of the most pressure this season.


Defensive Coordinator- Mike Pettine

If you've never heard of Mike Pettine, you will now.

Pettine's father Mike Sr. is the winningest coach in the history of Pennsylvania high school football, garnering a 326-42-4 record in 33 seasons while winning the AAAA state championship four times at Central Bucks High School West.

Pettine, along with many players, followed new Jets head coach Rex Ryan from Baltimore to New York showing the kind of bond the two shared while working under Brian Billick and John Harbaugh.

With Pettine in charge of a reconstructed defense (captained by Pro Bowl linebacker Bart Scott), you can expect a Ravens-style attack involving not just the front seven but then entire secondary as well.

Heading into camp, players were quoted as saying they had never seen this kind of defensive tempo before and never worked at this kind of a pace while under the old regime.

As Ryan's "right-hand man" in Baltimore, Pettine and Ryan were behind a defense that never finished out of the top five from 2005-2008 as outside linebackers coach and defensive coordinator respectively, including the top-ranked unit in 2006.


Special Teams Coordinator- Mike Westoff

One of the senior members of the Jets staff, Mike Westoff gets almost no credit when it comes to legendary NFL coaches.

With almost 30 years of service, the Bethel Park, Pennsylvania native has consistently brought some of the best units to the NFL under some of the most dire circumstances as he had his leg amputated due to bone cancer and while battling a malignant brain tumor in 1998.

Westoff came to the Miami Dolphins after a brief stopover with the Indianapolis Colts in the 1980s, serving on their staff for 15 seasons.

For four straight seasons in the late 1990s with Miami, Westhoff was behind the NFL's top kickoff and punt coverage units and he brought that pedigree with him to New York beginning in 2001.

In his eight seasons on the Jets sideline New York has 11 combined total special teams touchdowns which is the most in the NFL, second only to the New England Patriots with eight.

Under Westoff, five players have returned kickoffs and/or punts for touchdowns: Chad Morton (2), Jerricho Cotchery (1), Leon Washington (4), Justin Miller (3) and Jonathan Carter (1).

Because of his coaching, Justin Miller and Leon Washington have each made the Pro Bowl.

A future Hall of Famer in my book, Westoff's teachings will only continue to thrive under Rex Ryan.

The main cogs of this coaching staff will be vital in teaching and executing gameplans not just on Sundays but on a daily basis in practices and in the film room to ensure that the Jets are prepared for their opponent and for the long grind of what should be a bounce back 2009 season.

Each member is on notice and must do his job to the best of his ability.

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