Coaching Makes All the Difference: A Look at the New York Jets Coaching Staff
Coaches are often side-notes to a teams success, being out-shined by their star players. While the players are ultimately the ones who go out and win the games, the coaching staff gets them there.
Consider the Patriots first Super Bowl victory. At the time, they were no more the a group of blue collar underdogs. They didn't have the big names that the Rams 'Greatest Show on Turf' had, and as everyone knows, the quarterback was an unproven sixth round pick.
Despite any shortcomings, the Patriots ultimately prevailed with a historic fourth quarter drive, but much of it was won on the sidelines.
In that case, Bill Belichick created a system in which his players would flourish. Get the lumbering linebacker Ted Bruschi in the open field and it wont be pretty. However, weaknesses were masked and strengths were fortified with the right strategy.
Football, more then any other sport, is influenced by the coaches' calls, tactics and preparation. Therefore, it is only appropriate to examine the coaching staff of the New York Jets.
After taking over the reigns this offseason, Coach Rex Ryan brought in some changes to a stagnant franchise. Son of legendary Buddy Ryan, Rex made a name for himself as the defensive coordinator of a dominant Baltimore Ravens.
Known as "The Mad Scientist" for his aggressive and unpredictable play calling, he would orchestratehavoc on opposing offenses with constant pressure and disguised packages. He now hopes to change the Jets once conservative mentality and unleash a free-wheeling defense that emphasises versatility and tenacity.
To help his transition, Ryan brought in former Ravens outside linebacker coach Mike Pettine, who is familiar with Ryan's system.
Working with a gifted core in Baltimore, Pettine embraced the aggressive style of play that figures to be a constant in the new Jet Defense. The transition will be assisted by the signing of linebacker Bart Scott, a focal point of the Ravens defense.
However, while it is sometimes needed to shake things up, a little stability never hurt either. This is precisely why Ryan was adamant in retaining offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who had held the position in the former regime.
Schottenheimer is also the son of a legendary coach, Marty, which undoubtedly helped speed the development of the 35 year old coordinator. Brian often features an open offense withvarious aspects from the west coast, quick hitters style.
This also allows him to devise a number of gadget plays which usually features Brad Smith or Leon Washington, Both players of unique abilities.
Like any coach, Schottenheimer had to make adjustments based on personal, and last season was an extreme example. Due to Bret Farve's last minute arrival and advanced age, the offensive playbook had to be severelyaltered and even shortened.
This limited what he could do strategically and hindered his effectiveness as the Jets ran far fewer plays then the average NFL team.
However, he was helped immensely by a solid front line, coached by Bill Callahan. With the key additions of pro bowlers Alan Faneca and Damien Woody, Callahan helped construct one of the NFL's best offensive lines. Earning his stripes as a college coach, Callahan was also from previous coach Eric Mangini's staff and helped promote stability on the offensive end.
The longest tenored member of the Jets is Mike Westhoff, who is regarded by many as one of the league's best special teams coach. After resigning in 2007 after leg surgery for bone cancer, he rejoined the team again to the pleasure of his players.
All these individuals help make the brain to run the arms and legs that is the players of the New York Jets. Without the right motivation and preparation, even a talented team can lose focus, much like last season.
However, this year's staff seems poised to avoid a repeat of last years debacle, and start a new dynasty that will continue long after many of the original players are gone.
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