New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer turned down head coaching offers to remain with the Jets this season. His reasoning was that he believed in what the Jets had and wanted to stick around to win a Super Bowl ring.
Brian Schottenheimer made a name for himself in 2006, when he used the few tools that he had to help lead the Jets to a 10-6 record and a playoff spot under Eric Mangini. When Mangini was fired, the Jets held onto Schottenheimer to run their offense.
Schottenheimer's name began creeping into potential offseason head coaching vacancies last winter after he helped turn around Mark Sanchez's poor rookie season, and helped lead the Jets to the AFC Championship game. Schottenheimer's stock was high, but he believed in what the Jets were doing and he believed they gave him the best chance at winning.
But maybe that wasn't the reason, maybe Schottenheimer knew that he wasn't ready to be a head coach. If you've paid attention to the Jets this season, you would see it too.
Last season, it took Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez a long time to learn Schottenheimer's complicated offense. At one point, Sanchez himself asked Schottenheimer to scale back. Later in the season, after many Sanchez turnovers, Rex Ryan said he would be taking a larger role with the offense, and things would be getting scaled back again.
The Jets played a very simple, run-heavy offense that led them to the AFC Championship game last season. In the offseason, they acquired former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes and it looked as if the Jets were going to open up their playbook.
With months to prepare for the first game of the season, the Jets played one of the worst offensive games in franchise history in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Schottenheimer's offense includes a lot of pre-snap motion, designed to create mismatches but after Week 1, Ryan again stepped in and told Schottenheimer to simplify the offense. The Jets would win their next five games.
The Jets went on their bye week and had two weeks to prepare for the Green Bay Packers. They then played a very ugly game and lost 9-0.
The blame can't fall on one particular person for this game. The Jets receivers were once again dropping passes left and right. They ran a fake punt that came up a yard short, leading to Green Bay's first field goal. They had two passes that looked like completions for the Jets but were both ruled interceptions, the second one led to Green Bay's second field goal.
But a lot of blame for this loss must fall onto the shoulders of Brian Schottenheimer.
For the second game in a row, the Jets play-calling was very questionable. In Denver, it seemed that the Jets won in spite of their bad play-calling, but this time they weren't as lucky. Furthermore, it is starting to seem like the more time the Jets have to prepare for an opponent, the worse the offense plays.
When the Jets get on a roll, it is usually with them playing a very simple offense and Brian Schottenheimer doing a great job calling plays. When they get on a roll, he seems to feel that they can handle a more advanced offense, but usually he is wrong. Schottenheimer needs to do a better job of getting a feel for how his players will react.
In Week 8 against the Packers, the play-calling was horrendous. The Jets were struggling to establish the running game, but Schottenheimer was not doing a good job of finding ways to get the running game going, something he usually excels at.
Schottenheimer and Sanchez failed to get many of the Jets big stars involved in the offense. Braylon Edwards had just one catch against the Packers, and it didn't come until the fourth quarter. It seemed that every time Sanchez dropped back to pass, he was targeting Jerrico Cotchery, a player that many feel is the Jets fourth best option in the passing game, despite Cotchery dropping numerous passes.
While the numbers for Sanchez may look decent—256 yards on 16 completions—139 of those yards came on just four passes.
Schottenheimer failed to communicate with his quarterback about what needed to be done to win this game. On 3rd-and-8 in the fourth quarter, Sanchez threw towards Cotchery in the end zone, despite the Jets being in 4th down territory.
A few plays earlier, Sanchez completed a 40-yard pass to Dustin Keller, where Sanchez had been running forward before he threw. Sanchez thought he may have been over the line of scrimmage so he rushed to call a QB sneak so the Packers couldn't challenge. Sanchez had really been a yard or two behind the line of scrimmage. Schottenheimer should have relayed this information to his quarterback and told him to take his time and call a regular play.
While there is blame to be passed all around after losing to the Packers, it is Brian Schottenheimer's job to communicate with Mark Sanchez and make sure he is not doing things on his own to try to win. While Schottenheimer may think Sanchez is ready for that, he isn't. And as of right now, Schottenheimer has a lot to learn if he wants to be a head coach in this league.